Shops raided in fake tech goods probe
Searches have taken place in 20 shops across the country in a major crackdown on suspected counterfeit computer products.
The raids took place at shops in Dublin, Galway, Limerick, Waterford, Wexford and Kilkenny over the last 48 hours.
Sources told the Herald that tens of thousands of euro worth of counterfeit Hewlett Packard equipment including computer components and associated products was seized.
It has emerged that much of the equipment is suspected of being imported into the country from destinations such as China.
No arrests were made.
The operation was co-ordinated by the garda's National Bureau of Criminal Investigation's Intellectual Property Crime Unit (IPCU) as part of a massive international investigation which involves many other European countries.
Specialist detectives and staff from Hewlett Packard were also involved in the raids.
This week's operation is one of the biggest that the IPCU have carried out this year.
In June, the head of the unit told the Herald that specialised gardai are currently engaged in a large number of secret operations against criminals engaged in the illegal counterfeiting.
"We want to raise public awareness of this issue - if people see a product in a market or on the internet that seems to be very cheap, they should ask where the product has come from and where will the cash they spend on it end up.
"The trade in counterfeit goods has a seriously negative impact on legitimate traders and it is also funding organised criminal activities," Det Supt George Kyne pointed out.
He explained that the ICPU works with local garda units in targeting the "various groups", both national and international, operating in manufacturing and distributing counterfeit goods in Ireland.
Earlier this year, Hewlett Packard said they had conducted around 1,600 investigations across Europe, Middle East and Africa, resulting in the confiscation of 11 million units of counterfeit products.