On May 15, US Customs and Border Protection officers announced that they had seized thousands of counterfeit Pokemon action figures coming in from Hong Kong. The fake toys were worth an astronomical amount.
In 2019, reports announced that Pokemon was not only Nintendo's most profitable series, but that it was also the highest grossing media franchise of all time. The popular RPG pulls in billions across its games, trading cards, and merchandise.
Given the insane demand the world has for the lovable monsters, its not surprising that it's also plagued with counterfeits looking to get a piece of the profits. At the beginning of May, US Border officers revealed they had seized thousands of dollars of fake figurines.
US Border Officers catch 'em all
The discovery happened on May 4 at a border checkpoint in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Officers were inspecting international packages when they found over 15 boxes containing over 86,000 fake Pokemon figurines.
While counterfeits aren't worth much on their own, the CBP estimates that the authentic toys that the knock-offs were copying are worth up to $603k, making it a substantial amount in damages.
According to the CBP press release, the shipment came from Hong Kong and was labeled as “plastic furnishing articles." Over on the official government website, agents also posted photos of the fraudulent toys.
The pictures depict a handful of favorites, from Pikachu to Gengar. The fakes even included a shiny Charizard... We think anyway, as it's entirely possible its lack of orange color is due to the figurine being cheaply made.
At the time of writing, Nintendo has yet to make a comment on the incident. The ridiculous news story just goes to show the great lengths that criminals will go to try get their hands on a valuable property.
If nothing else, it's a good lesson for Pokemon fans to always make sure they buy from a legitimate retailer. As the franchise continues to grow in popularity, there will be more fakes in the wild trying to pass for the real thing.