This is just plain hilaaaarious: Cops in NYC have arrested a worker at a funeral supplies shop in Chinatown that sells joss paper and other papier-mâché items that Chinese people the world over like to burn for their deceased family members.
His offense? Selling counterfeit Louis Vuitton and Burberry handbags.
According to the New York Times, a cardboard mansion goes for about $400 at the store, and a cardboard flat-screen television for $40.
And then there are stacks and stacks of hell money (in the usual ridiculously large denominations), sports cars, cellphones, iPads, double-breasted suits, and even smiling dolls to act as servants (no kidding!) in the netherworld — all stuff you guys would have seen in China, no doubt.
From the NYT:
A police spokesman on Wednesday would only offer information from the arrest report, including that the worker who was arrested on Tuesday, Wing Sun Mak, was observed offering to sell three handbags “that bore a counterfeit trademark Burberry” and one handbag that bore a fake Louis Vuitton insignia. He was also observed offering for sale four pairs of shoes and two outfits.
Mr. Mak said that a man in street clothes entered the store and seemed particularly interested in the handbags and loafers, obviously cardboard, that have print designs that vaguely resemble Louis Vuitton’s and Gucci’s.
“He asked me, ‘How much is this?’ ” recalled Mr. Mak, pointing to a handbag on display. “I said $20, and he pulled out his badge and said, ‘Are you selling this to me?’ And then he arrested me.”
Amy Mak-Chan, the arrested man’s aunt, is incredulous. “We never thought that updating things would go against America’s laws,” she fumed, before launching into a crash course on Chinese funeral customs. “When people die, they feel they are going to need things in the next world… They might want a car and a house and other nice things. People buy these things here, to give them as gifts at the funeral.”
NYT’s account includes a money quote from the councilwoman who represents the neighbourhood and the wife of the arrested man who has her own real Coach handbag. We’ll leave you to read it here.