By Bae Ji-sook
A total of 92 clothing and accessory shops in Seoul have been caught selling fake luxury items, according to the city government, Monday.
Bogus designer garments were the majority of goods while accessories, bags and hats followed. Dongdaemun in central Seoul had the highest number of retailers caught, followed by the Express Bus Terminal in southern Seoul and Shinchon metro station in the northern part of the city.
Dongdaemun, famous for producing and distributing high quality yet cheap and edgy fashion, was the hotbed of fake distribution as 34 shop owners were caught for illegal trading. Louis Vuitton, Chanel and other French luxury brands were the main brands being infringed.
At Shinchon, frequented mostly by collegians and younger clientele, fabricated handbags or clothes were items the most in demand. The Express Bus Terminal sold less trendy imitation golf wear.
The investigation took place between March 24 and 25 with help from the Intellectual Property Office and civic groups. They aimed to wipe out the notoriety of Korea selling "delicately fabricated luxury goods."
Many luxury brands dispatch their own investigators here to root out illegal copiers.
"Many of the vendors were not even aware that selling fake items is a crime. However, their illicit business could trigger international trade conflicts and taint the national competitiveness and image," Oh Seung-hwan, a city official, said. The city government will grant the businesspeople a one-year-grace period, but repeat perpetrators will be reported to the police.