DUBAI // More than 30,000 counterfeit Toyota car parts have been seized following raids on retailers in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi.
The sweeps, involving economic development department inspectors from the three emirates, representatives from Toyota Motor Corporation and its UAE distributor Al-Futtaim Motors, targeted 27 shops.
Officials called the operation, which ran from September 19 to 26, a success. They said companies that continued to commit the crime have been warned that they would be caught and punished.
Shops that break the law are fined a minimum of Dh5,000, or up to 50 per cent of the value of the fake parts found in the shop.
"These illegal activities put both our brand and the consumers in danger," said Sajjad Pasha, the national sales and marketing manager of parts and distribution for Al-Futtaim Motors. "Auto part purchasers are being cheated and misled and end up with a hazardous part in their vehicles, which compromises their safety and the well-being of their families."
Despite the large number of car parts seized, the overall trend of illegal car part sales seems to be declining. Officials said the number of retailers selling fake goods fell by 60 per cent from 2008 to 2011.
Before the raids took place, inspectors gathered information during a month-long investigation of suspected counterfeiters.
The areas they targeted were the auto parts market at Al Mussafah Industrial Area, in Abu Dhabi, where more than 9,000 fake parts were discovered in raids against nine companies.
In Dubai, fake parts were discovered in Deira, Umm Rammool, Rashidiya, and Al Awir Industrial Area. Eight companies in Dubai were found selling 6,000 items.
The Sharjah operation focused on BMW Road, J&P Road and Double Cola Road, where 10 companies were raided and more than 11,000 fake parts were recovered.
Generally, most of the parts are imported from China, Malaysia, Turkey and Jordan, according to Hatem Abdel Ghani, the director and head of intellectual property enforcement in Al Shaali & Co, Advocates & Legal Consultants, which works on behalf of Toyota to crackdown on counterfeiters. The parts were unbranded, and were tucked into white packaging.
In general customs do not have a legal basis to seize items because no infringement had taken place at that stage of the operation.
Last year Al-Futtaim Motors helped to form a dealer council to safeguard the interest of the company's 125-strong network of authorised dealers.
"We are keen to provide greater support to owners of global brands by doing whatever it takes against companies that carry out such illegal acts," said Abdulla Mohammed Al Shehhi, the commercial protection director at the Dubai Department of Economic Development.