Chinese Airport Stops Ambitious Pokémon TCG Bandits

It has been a crazy year for the Pokémon Trading Card Game market. 2021 marks the 25th Anniversary of the Pokémon franchise, which has led to a year-long celebration including collaborations with pop stars Katy Perry, Ed Sheeran, and more. We have also seen an explosion of interest in the Pokémon TCG specifically due to the anniversary as well as other circumstances including speculator interest, content creator involvement, and honestly, a great slate of sets. Some people have taken advantage of this increased interest in the hobby by waiting for restocks at retail locations such as Target and Walmart and proceeded to clear out the entire shelf to resell the products they've purchased with extreme mark-ups in the secondary market. While the Pokémon TCG is successfully combating scalping by ramping up their printing capabilities, there are still those who seek to make a buck of out Pikachu and pals. In fact, earlier this week, an honestly ambitious entrepreneur of sorts was caught sending a shocking amount of fake Pokémon TCG products to the Netherlands. 7.6 tons of the counterfeit cards were intercepted at Shanghai's Pudong Airport, putting a stop to what was a plan as bold as it was nefarious.

Surprised Pikachu reacts to fake Pokémon TCG haul. Credit: @yicaichina on Twitter
Surprised Pikachu reacts to fake Pokémon TCG haul. Credit: @yicaichina on Twitter

Yicai Global 第一财经 tweeted about the situation, flexing their hashtag game, writing:

Twenty boxes of counterfeit #Pokemon #Pikachu game cards weighing over 7.6 tons were intercepted at Shanghai's Pudong Airport by customs officials yesterday. Bound for the Netherlands from a company in Qingdao province, it is one of the biggest fake #IP hauls in recent years.

Now, if you're worried that you may be purchasing fake Pokémon TCG products, don't worry. Despite the best effort of folks like this 7.6 ton bad boy, it's pretty easy to tell when cards and sealed products are fake. Fake cards generally have coloration problems that show blatantly when compared to a genuine article. As far as sealed products, you can compare the cellophane wrapping, which these counterfeiters have had trouble replicating. They also tend to print the wrong set details on booster packs, load packs sideways into booster boxes, and even use totally invented pack artwork.

The fake products in the video posted to Twitter were impressively duplicated Sword & Shield – Vivid Voltage booster boxes. The packs were even stacked correctly. Note, though, the clear cellophane with no official Pokémon TCG stamp. If they're missing the stamp? Blatant fakes. Good try, but not good enough. You can't fool Shanghai's Pudong Airport.

Your best bet when purchasing sealed Pokémon TCG products is to familiarize yourself with the product through online openings. YouTube is full of them, and I also conduct them right here at Bleeding Cool when every new set drops.

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About Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.
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