A mobile court yesterday destroyed 20 trucks of so-called brand cosmetics in Chawkbazar area of the capital.
The court led by Rapid Action Battalion conducted a drive in Khan Market run by Haji Mofiz, the president of Chawkbazar Shop Owners Association, in Old Dhaka and found the items.
Seven people were arrested in this connection – Din Islam, Delwar Hossain, Md Shamim, Hemayet Khan, Sayeed Hossain, Md Samad, and Omar Faruq.
These cosmetic items including shampoo, body spray, body lotion, and soap were on display in five shops on the first floor of the market while the manufacturing factory was situated on the second floor, said RAB members.
They said the workers inside the factory, looked after by Mofiz’s son Sayeed Hossain as well as Samad, were found making internationally known ”Johnsons” soap as instructed by the Chawkbazar Dokan Malik Samity President Hazi Mofiz.
They buy local Meril soap wholesale at Tk20 per cake, process it to make it look like Johnsons and sell at Tk85.
The shop owners had to pay Mofiz Tk3,000 per month, said some of the arrestees.
Shampoos branded as Vaseline, Pantene, Head & Shoulders, Sunsilk, Clear, Garnier, and, Rejoice were on display too.
Din Islam, one arrestee and owner of one shop, empty containers of the originals are collected and refilled with duplicated liquids and scents.
The duplicated Pantene shampoo is sold at Tk100, while the price of the original is Tk310. A sticker on the bottle shows the original rate, he said.
Some unscrupulous businessman buy these duplicated items from them and sell it at the original price, said the arrested men.
”Body sprays with brands like Do It, Axe, Cool, Maxi, and Fogue are duplicated in a similar manner, refilling the original containers with locally made sprays. People can differentiate between the original and the locally made stuff,” said an arrested Shamim.
”The locally made contents can be identified by spraying inside a glass. If water remains then it is the duplicated low quality item. If it is original then water will vapourate within seconds,” he said.
Around 20,000 pieces of such ‘branded’ cosmetics worth Tk20 lakh were destroyed at the dumping ground nearby.
”This mobile court has conducted drives three times in the area earlier, however, the culprits get back to the business once release from jail,” said Magistrate Anwar Pasha of the court.
Major Md Sohel Hassan of RAB 10 said the arrested were awarded with two years of imprisonment and Tk1.50 lakh fine each, in defaut to serve more three months in jail.