SHANGHAI, April 27 (Xinhua) -- Chinese police busted a criminal gang suspected of manufacturing and selling counterfeit LEGOs worth over 200 million yuan (about 30 million U.S. dollars), according to Shanghai police's statement on Friday.
Four suspects were arrested in a police operation on Tuesday, with more than 90 production molds and 630,000 finished products seized.
In October 2018, Shanghai police found that Lepin, a domestic toymaker, was selling building blocks that were extremely similar to LEGOs. The criminal gang located in Shenzhen was soon tracked down.
Lepin's toys cost about one-tenth of official LEGO products, and there are big differences in the craftsmanship and quality, said Zhong Shikai, one of the police officers responsible for investigating the case.
According to Robin Smith, vice president and general counsel for LEGO China and Asia Pacific, the counterfeit products will not only have a significant impact for companies like LEGO, but the safety of the products is also another concern.
Further investigation of the case is still underway.
China has pledged to strengthen intellectual property rights (IPR) protection through multiple regulations and establishing IP courts in Beijing and Shanghai. The number of IPR trials in Shanghai hit a record high last year, according to a white paper released by the Shanghai High People's Court on Monday.