Customs Seizes 86,000 Fake Pokémon Toys For Very Weird Reasons

Illustration for article titled Customs Seizes 86,000 Fake iPokémon/i Toys For Very Weird Reasons

US Customs has seized 86,000 bootleg Pokémon figures, worth an estimated $600,000, hidden inside a shipment arriving from Hong Kong earlier this week.


Which is fine, that happens all the time, and fake Chinese stuff is violating trademarks, so this is literally Customs’ job. But instead of just saying that the figures are fake and will be destroyed, Customs felt the need to issue some strange and frankly self-owning statements to go with it?

Working with the trademark holder, CBP confirmed that the figurines were counterfeit. CBP import specialists appraised the shipment at $603,936. Officers seized the shipment for violating U.S. intellectual property rights. The parcel was destined to an address in Snyder County, Pa.

The figurines are small and pose a potential choking hazard to your children. Additionally, counterfeit toys tend to be coated in excessive levels of lead paint. No lead testing was conducted on these toys.

“In addition to protecting the trademark holder’s intellectual property rights, Customs and Border Protection’s primary concern with counterfeit consumer goods is the potential harm they can cause to American consumers, such as the choking hazard these figurines pose to children,” said Michelle Stover, CBP’s Port Director for the Port of Harrisburg. “CBP officers remain committed to working with our consumer safety partners to protect American consumers by seizing dangerous counterfeit goods at our nation’s ports of entry.”


So they pose a choking hazard, but then, so do the actual figures you compared them to in order to get a “street value” of $600,000? And they “tend to be” covered in lead paint but you didn’t even test them? Maybe these weren’t!

Good job, everyone.  

Luke Plunkett is a Senior Editor based in Canberra, Australia. He has written a book on cosplay, designed a game about airplanes, and also runs

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I’m gonna guess these are some standard pre-made talking points used for any and every fake toy apprehended...

The choking hazard is kinda reasonable. Way I understand this is that official stuff, even if they also pose a choking hazard, are obliged to put in big letters on the outside of packaging that these are not intended for small kids. When they come lose like that it’s not following proper regulations.

The whole Kinder Egg getting banned thing came out because it was both a choking hazard and also aimed for small kids.

As for lead in paint, it’s more or less the same thing. Those toys didn’t go through a regulatory body for safety testing... like UL or something. Plus, it is kinda common for cheapo chinese pirate products to use subpar materials and paints... so even if customs didn’t test them, they have to assume the worst. Not sure if Customs would be equipped to so so, this is usually the job of some regulatory body, but of course they are not gonna to it for pirated crap. :P

As for the magical loss in revenue numbers, you know how it goes. We all know that it simply is not true, but big brands will never admit that, even more a company based in Japan where things move slow as hell and standard vertically structured business would never admit forward thinking in any way.

Hell will freeze over the day japanese companies working in a relatively traditional way admits that piracy and bootlegging mostly helped their business reach worldwide recognition and fame.