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International Authorities Seize A Shit Ton Of Fake Pokémon Cards

Guys, the phrase is “Gotta catch ’em all,” not “gotta lose ’em all”

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A man holds Pokemon cards for Charmandar, Squirtle, Pikachu, and Bulbasaur.
Note: These aren’t the cards in question. This is just a very nicely framed stock photo.
Photo: Wachiwit (Shutterstock)

It seems some folks wanted to be the very best, like no one ever was. An unnamed company’s plans were apparently thwarted recently, however, when officials at China’s Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport seized 7.6 tons of counterfeit Pokémon cards.

Catching them was the real test. According to Yicai Global, authorities seized 20 boxes of forged cards. In the short video, you can see imagery of Charizard and Gallade on the side of one box, alongside the phrase “juego de cartas coleccionables.”

Per Yicai, the cards originated in Qingdao and were headed for the Netherlands. You may think they got there by land, but to train them was not the cause. Instead, after searching far and wide, it was discovered they went by air, although Yicai did not specify into which international airport they arrived. (Last year, as international trade grappled with a 90 percent reduction in operational aircraft in the wake of the global pandemic, KLM and Philips established a dedicated freight route between Amsterdam and Shanghai.)

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You don’t need to teach whichever company was behind the forgery to fully understand the power that’s inside. Pokémon cards have seen a staggering surge in popularity over the past few years, spurred in part by celebrities like Logic and Logan Paul dropping significant sums on individual cards. (To date, some extra-rare cards sell for six-figure sums.) It got to the point where, in the wake of fights and supply shortage, some big-box retailers wholly suspended the sale of Pokémon cards in the spring.

But where money goes, scams follow, as grifters gotta catch ‘em all. Last year, as reported by The Guardian, a $375,000 deal—organized in part by Chris Camillo, a co-host of YouTube’s popular Dumb Money channel—turned out to be a total farce, full of counterfeit cards. In light of the revelation, Camillo was able to keep his money, but suggested it would have significant repercussions for the scene. He said at the time, “This is going to shake up the Pokémon collector world.”

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However, don’t get too worried about the situation. With hearts so true, our courage will pull us through.