Five suspected members of a South Korean smuggling ring have been arrested on suspicion of producing and selling counterfeit designer goods worth 42 billion won (US$36.7 million), the country's customs office said Wednesday.
One person was held in custody and four booked without detention on charges of violating the trademark law, said the Seoul office of Korea Customs Service. The names of all five were withheld.
The five allegedly set up two to three factories and storehouses in residential areas of Seoul to avoid a police crackdown, said the authorities. Their alleged operation included the production, storage and sale of counterfeit items to local customers, in addition to smuggling similar goods to Japan via air mail.
Most of the fakes are imitations of popular Louis Vuitton bags, which they sold for around 200,000 won each.
"They committed such violations as fake designer brands are popular among foreign tourists visiting South Korea," said the office. "We will intensify our crackdown on illegal products."