Chinese police seize $171 million of fake branded cosmetics

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Chinese police have seized a huge haul of counterfeit cosmetics, including ones labelled as Chanel, Christian Dior, L'Oreal, Lancome and Estée Lauder, with a combined street value of around 827 million yuan (S$171 million).

Police forces in the eastern city of Taizhou busted seven underground dens earlier this month and seized over 1,200 boxes of the counterfeit make-up, local authorities said late on Wednesday via an official Sina Weibo microblog.

Police identified the counterfeit cosmetic gangs last year after reports of fake products of American multi-level marketing company Amway being sold online.

The cosmetics bust underlines the challenge brands face in China, where counterfeit and knock-off products can range from personal care items to food products, medicines and even cars.

The country has been trying to step up a crackdown on fakes, with authorities opening more than 170,000 intellectual property infringement and counterfeit product cases last year and arresting nearly 20,000 suspects.