According to Chinese state-affiliated media outlet Yicai, customs officials recently seized 7.6 tons of Pokemon cards. Here’s the real kicker: they were all fake.
Officials honed in on the 20 boxes of fake Pokemon cards after the customs declaration raised suspicion. Pokemon is copyrighted in China, meaning it is protected by the country’s intellectual property laws.
In total, the boxes contained roughly 400,000 fake card packs. A company called Qingdao Import and Export Co., Ltd. reportedly shipped the boxes, with the destination set for the Netherlands.
According to the announcement on Twitter, this is the biggest haul of a fake IP in recent years. As a result, the offending company could face hefty fines.
Pokemon cards exploded in popularity during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In June, The Pokemon Company reported it sold 3.7 billion cards during the fiscal year 2020-2021.
With this surging popularity came dried-up inventory. Things got so bad, stores like Target and Walmart temporarily halted in-person sales due to folks camping out to get their hands on card packs.
Given how desperate some people might be to buy Pokemon cards, it’s not unheard of for bad actors to take advantage and sell fake cards.
Supply seems to have caught up with demand on some level, at least. Retailers like GameStop and Best Buy regularly have cards in stock, so it’s not as hard to find some nowadays.