Dubai: Terrorists, traffickers, money-launderers and members of international crime syndicates have been using revenues generated from the trade in counterfeit products to abet criminal activity, Gulf News was told on Tuesday.

This money goes towards financing international crimes such as terrorism, drug trafficking and money-laundering and hence, the public should be more vigilant about purchasing fake goods, said Major-General Dr Abdul Qudoos Al Obaidly, Assistant Commander-in-Chief for Quality and Excellence Affairs at Dubai Police and chairman of the Emirates Intellectual Property Association.

Speaking on the sidelines of the third Community Safety Conference on Tuesday, Maj-Gen Al Obaidly addressed the public through Gulf News and said: “[The trade] in counterfeit goods is causing a major loss for the global economy. By 2022, we expect it to touch $4.2 trillion. It is a big problem and there is a need for greater cooperation between the government and the private sectors. We also need the public to be more aware and not buy fake products.”

Maj-Gen Al Obaidly stressed that UAE aims to be one of the world’s top countries in combating the sale of fake goods. “Dubai Economy (Department of Economic Development in Dubai) seized 67.7 million fake goods worth Dh1.16 billion last year. We have the vision to be the number one country in tackling the fake product trade by 2021,” he said.

Al Obaidly said the there should a more severe penalisation for people dealing with counterfeit products, especially for those who trade in fake medicines. “It can lead to deaths.”

Dubai Police recorded 243 cases of trading in and possessing fake products and piracy in 2017 involving a total estimated value of Dh288 million.

Lieutenant-Colonel Salah Bu Osaiba, director of the Anti-Economic Crimes Department, said officers receive information about fake products through sources and from companies themselves.

“It is a global trade that damages legitimate businesses. Sellers [of fake goods] were targeted in a large number of raids and seizures. We conduct inspections in shops and industrial areas in Dubai and also raise awareness among the public,” Lt-Col Bu Osaiba added.

He called on people to report immediately if they come across counterfeit goods or if they have any information on them.