Council Member Seeks to Make Buying Fake Designer Brands a Crime

April 27, 2011  |  

(New York Times) — Cabrina Whitam said she was willing to follow the trail of fake Chanel and Burberry handbags into whatever Chinatown backrooms it might lead her. “I come down here, I will continue coming down here, and I will follow the Chinese people wherever they take me,” Ms. Whitam, who lives in New Jersey, said Tuesday afternoon as she stood amid the purse and sunglass vendors on Canal Street. “I don’t believe in child labor and I don’t believe in supporting terrorists, but if I want to buy a knockoff, that’s my business.”  But Councilwoman Margaret S. Chin, whose district includes Chinatown, plans to introduce legislation on Thursday that would make it the city’s business as well. Ms. Chin’s proposed bill would make it a misdemeanor to buy fake designer merchandise. If the bill passes, violators like Ms. Whitam could face a $1,000 fine, a year in jail, or both.

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