City Councilwoman Margaret Chin Wants To Make It Illegal To Purchase Knockoff Purses

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Knock off the knockoffs, or we’ll send the fashion police after you.

That’s the message City Councilwoman Margaret Chin wants to send. Chin plans to introduce a bill making it illegal to purchase counterfeit designer merchandise. Violators could face a year in jail or a $1,000 fine.

“If they buy it from the back of a van or a back alley or some hidden basement somewhere, they know they’re buying counterfeit goods,” Chin said.

“I think it’s good – all those knockoffs are hurting the real brand,” James Mei told CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez.

Chin is reportedly fed up with tourists heading to her district – Chinatown – in search of the cheap imitations. Chin says the counterfeiters flaunt child labor laws and the funds may support other nefarious activities.

1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reports: New Yorkers say don’t fine the buyer

The underground economy’s main outpost operates along Canal Street in the shadow of legitimate stores that sell generic handbangs, t-shirts and trinkets.

Some tourists and residents were skeptical of the proposal.

“It’s crazy, it’ll chase away all the customers and scare all the tourists from coming down here,” he said. “If you’re going to stop it, you have to stop the seller.”

“I thought this country was a free country, you can do whatever you want, and I go to jail because I buy a fake bag? That’s stupid,” Cintyha Tape said.

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If the bill passes – it already has a number of co-sponsors – signs would be posted throughout the area warning shoppers of the new rule.

“If we start cutting the demand, ultimately we will cut the supply,” Chin said.

“Sometimes people think they’re buying the real deal, and it turns up to be a knockoff. What are you going to do in cases like that?” Danielle James said.

“When you’ve got a lot of tourists, like you do in New York City, then it’s a bit harsh,” tourist Robyn Langley said.

The new bill targeting buyers of counterfeit goods is set to be introduced before the city council on Thursday.

What do you think of the proposal? Sound off in our comments section.

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  • Kerri

    I am one of those tourists that comes in to the city a couple times a year to shop and Canal Street is our first stop. I absolutely love looking and bartering for the cutest knock-off bag. And so I totally agree with Fritz Von – We small-towners who come in for a day or two don’t have thousands of dollars to spend on a Louis Vuitton so it’s not taking any business away from the actual designers. In fact they should take it as a compliment and see that it may even move some people to aspire and save to own the real thing. After hearing about this bill I’m totally bummed and not looking forward to my next trip as much.

  • christine

    what if u tell the customers that they are inspired do you still get a fine???

  • Yolanda

    Open up the welfare rolls NYC, we will soon have more families to care for since Ms Chin wants to deny the vendors of Chinatown the ability to feed their families without infringing on the State for assistance (hopefully). I can see it now, NYC jails will be filled with tourists for doing what has been a part of visiting NY for decades. So, she wants Chinatown to be Ghosttown, lets get her what she wants, and not only will the tourists not visit Chinatown (granting her wish) nor will we, as Native New Yorkers in support of the vendors who attract business to Chinatown that in turn bolsters visits to eateries and other business in Chinatown. What a way to serve your constituents, guess who’ll be out of a job next election or is this your last term and you want to go out wiht a bang.

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