Bill could make buying knockoff bags illegal

PARIS - APRIL 22:  Counterfeit handbags and shirts seized by Customs are displayed at Ministere des Finances on April 22, 2010 in Paris, France. France's Budget Minister, Francois Baroin attended a press conference there today to announce Customs results for 2009.  (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Buyer beware!

City councilwoman Margaret Chin wants to crack down not just on the people hawking knockoff designer handbags, but on the people buying them.

Chin’s new bill seeks to cut down on the trade in counterfeit goods — an industry that has historically thrived in Manhattan’s Chinatown neighborhood — by going after the label-hungry buyers driving demand, who could face a fine of up to $1,000 and up to a year in prison.

“People are worried that some innocent middle-aged woman might unwittingly purchase a [counterfeit] bag,” Chin told the NY Post. “If you go into a back room, basement or van, you probably know what you’re doing is not legal.”

$340 million worth of black-market handbags were seized last year alone in New York.



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