Syndicates have been producing and selling counterfeit cosmetics made in factories located in Old Dhaka that run in collaboration with members of law enforcement.
The fake products are made with labels of various known brands in factories spread across Jinjira, Kushirbagh, Mandail, Bamonshur, Kalindi of Keraniganj area and Chowkbazar, Begumbazar, Rahmatganj, Kamalbagh, Islambagh, Debidas Ghat, Boroktara, Chotokatra and Kamrangirchar. The counterfeit products are mainly sold in Chowkbazar and Moulvibazar in Dhaka’s Old Town.
The syndicates produce soaps and shampoos, cold creams and snows, powders, nail polish, lipsticks, oils, lotions and shaving creams, using labels of Lever Brothers, Square Toiletries, Kohinoor Chemical and Lalbagh Chemical.
It was learnt the raw material is collected from shops in Mitford, and empty packets and containers of the brands are re-cycled and used to fool unsuspecting customers.
Dr Harun-ur-Rashid, associate professor of Sir Salimullah Medical College Hospital (SSMCH), told the Dhaka Tribune continuous use of such products can even cause cancer and advised consumers to be more aware when they buy toiletries and cosmetics.
This correspondent found low quality products and many that have expired in markets of Chowkbazar. There has been a marked rise in counterfeit items ahead of Eid with customers often unaware of risks, and most don’t check for expiry dates.
The Dhaka district local cosmetics owners association’s president Asaduzzaman Asad and general secretary Iqbal Hossain where contacted about the issue. They told the Dhaka Tribune they had heard about the allegations and would take action against any dishonest businessmen.
Sources from the area said most of the fake products are stored in warehouses of various markerts including Chistia Market, Modina Market and Didar Market.
According to some sources fake cosmetics are produced around the Khan Market and Bhai Bhai Market area.
Seeking anonymity, a member of the Chowkbazar cosmetics seller groups told the Dhaka Tribune the profit from selling fake products can equal Tk2-3m monthly, and part of it is shared with local law enforcers who let them run the illegal business without trouble.
Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police of Lalbagh division Harun-ur-Rashid denied the allegations. He told the Dhaka Tribune no members of the police were involved in any such illegal practice.
He said appropriate steps would be taken if anyone was found guilty of such charges, and added the police often have drives against such illegal businesses.
On various occasions Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) have arrested several people for selling fake cosmetics, and handed sentences by mobile courts.
Captain Mostafizur Rahman of Rab-10 said based on intelligence reports they raid locations where fake cosmetics are made and sold.