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A breakthrough at the marketplace

At first sight, the news does not stand out on the crime reports: Sunday before lunchtime, dozens of police followed by inspectors stormed the Vietnamese marketplace Lipové pole in Aš [a border town in western Bohemia] and found thousands of counterfeit products of all kinds.

  • Autor: Respekt
• Autor: Respekt

At first sight, the news does not stand out on the crime reports: Sunday before lunchtime, dozens of police followed by inspectors stormed the Vietnamese marketplace Lipové pole in Aš [a border town in western Bohemia] and found thousands of counterfeit products of all kinds. However, the result of the raid, which lasted for several days, was more than just a list of confiscated T-shirts and CDs.

The force of almost 200 law-enforcement agents and other officials sealed off dozens of stalls selling clothing, food and electronics at the Aš marketplace was exceptional for two reasons: First, for it size and, most importantly, the fact that customs officers joined forces with the Commercial Inspection, the Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority, public-health authorities and the trade-licensing office. The extraordinary cooperation might continue throughout October and regular inspections might come back, on a smaller scale, even later.

Second, besides the hope that counterfeit merchandise and food that does not meet health regulations will disappear from stalls for more than the few hours it normally takes to bring new supplies, there is also something else at stake. Effective from Sunday until further notice, a special caravan is stationed in the middle of the marketplace. A vendor can enquire there about the inspectors' findings at his or her stand, and, even more importantly, anonymously pick up fliers with…

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