R24m fake alcohol seized from store

Police confiscate fake liquor with a street value of R24 million from a popular Eerste River outlet. pic: supplied

Police confiscate fake liquor with a street value of R24 million from a popular Eerste River outlet. pic: supplied

Published Jun 14, 2024


Cape Town - Millions of rand worth of fake alcohol confiscated from a popular Eerste River liquor outlet has shocked residents.

Police said they arrested a 20-year-old Chinese national on Wednesday for allegedly selling the counterfeit booze, with a street value of R24 million.

Police spokesperson, Wesley Twigg said multidisciplinary efforts were put in place to stop the illegal trade in counterfeit goods.

“The Provincial Counterfeit Illicit and Contraband Goods Task Team embarked on a counterfeit operation in the Kleinvlei policing precinct.

“The members proceeded with a search of a liquor outlet on the corner of Plain and Ryneveld Streets, Eerste River, where they confiscated liquor which did not meet the requirements for sale purposes. The estimated street value of the liquor is R24 million.

“A 20-year-old Chinese national was arrested for dealing in counterfeit, illicit and illegal goods,” said Twigg.

He said the suspect is expected to appear in the Bellville Magistrate’s Court once charged.

Kleinvlei Community Policing Forum chairperson, Hubert Kemp, said they were shocked to discover the shop, which is normally buzzing with customers, was selling fake liquor.

“This is a busy off sale and now we discovered this about it.

“As the CPF we say the law must take its own course.

“Anybody who comes to Eerste River for the sake of doing unlawful business and doing anything that is illegal must connect with the law.

“We are glad that the police uncovered this. A lot of people went into that liquor store because it is right in front of the busy mall,” said Kemp.

He said the shop had been operating for a long time.

“Now for us to learn that illegitimate alcohol is sold from there, wow!

“How many people could have died from that liquor; the wine that they sold from that place.

“We are now making a call to the police that they will perform more raids. We know that this was a provincial team that did the arrest but we ask for more.”

In January, a similar bust was made in Khayelitsha by law-enforcement officers when they raided an illegal distillery in which people were allegedly dealing in, and manufacturing, alcohol.

Law Enforcement spokesperson Wayne Dyason said the officers were out on patrol in the area when they came across the goods.

At the Harare property, the officers discovered several bottles of various alcohol brands like Old Buck Gin, Gordon’s Gin, Jameson Whiskey and Smirnoff Vodka.

The officers also found empty boxes of Gordon’s Gin bottles, bottle caps and stickers as well as 17 sealed 25-litre canisters containing chemicals.

Nine large canvas bags of empty Old Buck and Gordon’s Gin 750ml bottles, Gordon’s Gin cardboard boxes and R2750 in cash were also discovered.

Convener of the National Liquor Traders Association, Lucky Ntimane, said the illicit and counterfeit alcohol market is estimated at over R20 billion per year.

“We commend the police for the stellar work in apprehending the suspect behind illegal and counterfeiting of alcohol, which the alcohol industry has been grappling with since the advent of Covid 19 pandemic.

“We also make a plea to our liquor traders not to buy alcohol from any person who is not reputable or conducts themselves in a way which arouses suspicion such as selling at prices below what the market trends are or where the packaging of the product seems to have been tampered with.

“The illicit and counterfeit alcohol market is now estimated at over R20 billion rand per annum with huge implications on government ability to collect taxes from legitimate manufacturers,” Ntimane said.

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