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.

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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.