An investigative reporter from the Columbus Dispatch finds Americans buying knock-off Oakley sunglasses in China. Obviously, he blames terrorists.
Experts say crime syndicates in Asia and elsewhere are behind much of the worldwide trade in illicit goods. So buying fakes not only denies tax revenue to governments, but it also supports drug trafficking, abusive labor practices and possibly worse.
"Buying counterfeit goods is just like giving a hundred-dollar bill to a terrorist or to the Mafia," said Tim Richissin, a Cleveland police sergeant and private investigator who monitors counterfeiters.
Ohio State University law professor Daniel C.K. Chow spent two years in China leading anti-counterfeiting efforts for the consumer products giant Procter & Gamble. Because tens of millions of Chinese depend on fake goods for their livelihood, he said, local officials ignore or even profit from the trade.
"Most consumers think it's harmless fun to buy knockoffs," Chow said. "But if you buy counterfeit products, you are supporting organized crime and all the abuses that come with it, including narcotics, smuggling and prostitution."
I prefer to support prostitution by hiring prostitutes, but it's good to know that all illegal activities are connected by one colossal global crime ring being monitored by a guy in Cleveland.
Cathy Young suggests you fight terrorism by growing your own pot.