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Dubai: Counterfeit versions of branded products including women’s bags, belts and expensive watches worth Dh114.5 million were seized by Dubai Police in the first quarter of 2017.

Major General Khalil Ebrahim Al Mansouri, Assistant to the Dubai Police Chief for Criminal Investigation Affairs, said they recorded 71 cases this year relating to counterfeit goods, and arrested 77 suspects.

“Combating economic crimes is very important in Dubai as it affects the famous brands being sold here,” Maj-Gen Al Mansouri said.

“We use the latest technology to tackle such crimes and protect the rights of the legitimate brands. We provide protection to hundreds of famous brands. We work closely with the big companies and respond to any complaints regarding counterfeit products,” Maj-Gen Al Mansouri added.

Meanwhile, Colonel Salah Bu Osaiba, director of the economic crimes combating department of Dubai Police, said they recently arrested an Asian suspect who had converted a villa into a storehouse for fake products.

“He had been arrested in the past for storing fake products, and after he completed his jail sentence he promptly rented a villa in Jafiliya area in Dubai and start storing fake products again. Of course, we arrested him again,” Col Bu Osaiba said.

A combined team of the Dubai Police and Department of Economy Development raided the villa and found large number of counterfeit products stored inside.

“He was fainted when we raided the villa and later confessed that he had repeated his crime as he had debts and had to pay them off. He used his connections with merchants and customers to promote the products, mostly women’s bags, belts, watches and other products,” Col Bu Osaiba said.

According to the Department of Economic Development, counterfeit goods valued at about Dh1 billion were seized in Dubai last year, an increase of 7 per cent from 2015.

On January this year, police raided a warehouse in Nad Al Hamar area and found 374,080 counterfeit construction tools including screwdrivers, locks, cutters, knives and drills worth millions of dirhams. An Asian suspect was arrested.

Colonel Bu Osaiba said his department was also responsible for tackling fake currency notes and fraud. Police arrested 54 suspects in fraud cases totalling Dh4.5 million in the first quarter of 2017, and arrested 15 suspects in fake currency note cases involving Dh93 million.