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Counterfeits: NYC knocking out knockoff merchandise?

Buying a knockoff Louis Vuitton bag may soon land New Yorkers in jail, the same as if they’d solicited a prostitute or committed third-degree assault.

Buying a knockoff Louis Vuitton bag may soon land New Yorkers in jail, the same as if they’d solicited a prostitute or committed third-degree assault.

Chinatown Councilwoman Margaret Chin unveiled legislation yesterday that would make it a crime to buy counterfeit goods.

The maximum punishment would be a $1,000 fine or up to one year in jail, the same for other Class A misdemeanors, such as assault, shoplifting, rioting or third-degree sexual abuse.

Selling counterfeit goods like sunglasses, sneakers and purses is already illegal, but there is no punishment to buy them.

“We just don’t think it’s fair,” Chin's spokeswoman Kelly Magee told Metro. “The demand hasn’t stopped.”

Chin said her Chinatown neighborhood is “inundated” with illegal vendors.

But New Yorkers are reeling at the idea of paying a fine equivalent to what they would have shelled out for a real designer purse.

“I think they have bigger fish to fry,” said Brooklynite Christine Hanna, 26. “Seriously, who cares about a fake purse?”

Maia Dedivitiis, 26, a student visiting from Buenos Aires, said she was looking for fake bag vendors in Battery Park, but had so far been unsuccessful.

“We never saw the purses that we wanted,” she told Metro, adding that a Louis Vuitton tote would be ideal.

Even if purchasing became illegal, she said she would still seek out the vendors — as long as no police officers were in sight.

“If there’s nobody arresting, I will buy,” she said.


Follow Alison Bowen on Twitter at @AlisonatMetro.

 
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