Editor’s Note: CRE’s Counterfeit Cigarette IPD has repeatedly discussed the dangers posed by counterfeiters from China and other countries producing high quality counterfeit tax stamps, packaging and other materials that allow them to pass off bogus cigarettes as legitimate products. The attached article from the front page of The Washington Post reports that Chinese counterfeiters are now producing very high quality driver’s licenses. These forged documents are being used by underage Americans to gain access to alcohol, sometimes with fatal consequences.
The counterfeiting of both tobacco tax stamps and driver’s licenses facilitate underage persons engaging in risk behaviors (smoking, drinking) that the US government has decided should be restricted to adults. Moreover, just as the counterfeit cigarette trade is used to finance terrorist activities, the counterfeit driver’s licenses could be used by persons seeking to engage in terrorist activities. The article notes that driver’s “licenses took on a new significance in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, when it was discovered that the hijackers carried several that had been fraudulently obtained.”
The Post reports that the quality of the counterfeits is so high that to “the naked eye — even the practiced eye of most bartenders and police officers — the counterfeits look perfect. . . . The holograms are exact copies, and even the bar code can pass unsophisticated scans.”
The news article further demonstrates the need for enhanced law enforcement efforts to stop the importation of counterfeit products.