Shoppers from around the world go to Canal Street for a great deal on "designer" handbags that are both cheap and fake.
But, if a City Councilwoman has her way that is all about to change — she is targeting the buyers.
“We want to sort of cut down on the demand,” said Councilwoman Margaret Chin (D-1st).
Chin said Sunday that she plans to introduce a bill that would slap a $1,000 fine on both the sellers and people caught buying the fake Chanel and Prada bags. Violators could also face a year in jail.
While selling the counterfeit handbags has always been illegal, there has been no legislation targeting buyers, Chin said.
Valerie Salembier, who heads the nonprofit Authentics Foundation which educates consumers about the counterfeit industry notes that in France, tourists are warned about fakes since counterfeit buyers “risks fines of up to 300,000 euros and up to three years in prison for the mere possession of a counterfeit item.
It’s why they don’t have a big problem with counterfeits in France.
“People are worried that some innocent middle-aged woman might unwittingly purchase a [counterfeit] bag,” Chin said. “If you go into a back room, basement or van, you probably know what you’re doing is not legal.”
Do you have a "Chinatown" in your area? Any legislation for this law in your hometown?