If you have friends and family from overseas who are planning to visit for the Olympics, you may for their own sake want to subject them to a friendly frisk before they board their homeward flight. According to reports picked up on by Shanghai Scrap, the World Customs Organization is going to leave no stuffed panda unturned in its fight against counterfeit Olympic goods. The head of the WCO, Christophe Zimmerman, seems to be out for scalps, saying that: “Even if you are found with the smallest item, even just one item, you will face at least a fine. Of course, if you stock up then it will be more serious.”
And it’s not just Olympic tat they’ll be after, but any counterfeit goods they find in their stepped-up searches China departees’ luggage. We guess that includes those discount DVDs that often fall into our bags before our trips back to the old country.
There seem to be a few glaring flaws in the WCO’s crusade, not least of all the huge delays that will be caused by over-zealous customs staff searching through bags and trying to determine whether each pencil sharpner, key-ring and mug they come across is a piece of sanctioned merchandise or not. Also, from a brief perusal of the WCO’s Web site, it’s unclear whether these people have any actual clout when it comes to international regulations. And is the International Olympic Committee really going to succeed where film companies and designer labels have failed?