Paris police bust vendors of Eiffel Tower trinkets

AP News
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Posted: Nov 10, 2011 1:54 PM
Paris police bust vendors of Eiffel Tower trinkets

Paris police say they have seized nearly 300 tons of contraband souvenirs _ mostly miniature Eiffel Towers _ in a crackdown targeting illegal vendors of such trinkets in tourist areas.

Police on Thursday announced the arrest of four Chinese citizens who operated a shop in central Paris that supplied souvenirs to street vendors who fan out daily across the capital without being registered with the city, as required.

A subsequent raid in a warehouse north of Paris turned up more than 20,000 boxes _ nearly all of them containing "Made in China" Eiffel Tower souvenirs.

Police say illegal vending cuts sales by authorized souvenir vendors by half.

Illegal street vendors can regularly be spotted near Paris tourist hotspots _ often fleeing police while carrying bundled blankets filled with souvenirs over their shoulders.