Police swoop in on Barcelona shop selling Harry Potter fakes

Spain’s Guardia Civil dismantled a massive operation that produced and sold fake Disney and Warner Bros brands, including dozens of items relating to the Harry Potter franchise.

Police swoop in on Barcelona shop selling Harry Potter fakes
Everything in the shop was fake merchandise.

A Barcelona shop which supplied the kind of products Harry Potter readers might expect to find in Diagon Alley was raided by police last week for exclusively selling knock-off copies from China.

Gryffindor house scarves were on sale beside Ravenclaw banners and a glass case offered up a selection of wands that could have come straight from Ollivander’s wand shop itself.

But an investigation by a fiscal and borders team from the Guardia Civil discovered all the products offered in the shop were counterfeit, although they were being sold as official merchandise with a price tag to match.4

“This raid was part of a wider operation against fake goods which are arriving by sea and other routes mostly from China and being sold in Spain,” said a spokesman from the Guardia Civil.

The raid on February 27resulted in the seizure of 9,592 counterfeit products with an estimated sale price of more than €300,000.

The owner of the shop, a 38-year-old woman with Spanish citizenship, has been arrested.




Madrid imam arrested for ‘radicalising minors’

Spanish police said Thursday they had arrested a 44-year-old imam who worked as an Arabic teacher and used his position "to radicalise minors" and recruit possible Islamic State (IS) members.

Madrid imam arrested for 'radicalising minors'

The Guardia Civil police force said the suspect was arrested on November 29 following an investigation which began last year after police identified him as having links to jihadist ideology and trying to indoctrinate minors.

The suspect, who worked at a Madrid mosque, had been detained “for using his role as a teacher to radicalise the minors he taught and to recruit potential members for Daesh”, using the Arabic acronym for the IS group.

“The detainee presented the minors with a violent view of religion using the same language as the main jihadist terrorist organisations,” it said. “In his talks, he praised the idea of the suicide bomber as a legitimate figure in the fight against Jews, Christians and apostates. He expanded on these theories in his classes as an example of behaviour all Muslims should follow.”

As an imam, the suspect had led prayers and taught at the Madrid mosque, but when the community became aware of what he was doing, he was forced to step down.

“These activities did not pass unnoticed within the community, which created conflict and meant the suspect was forced to leave the mosque and continue his activities in more private places,” it said.

In 2014, IS proclaimed a self-styled “caliphate” across swathes of Syria and Iraq, but it collapsed five years later, although the extremist group still continues to carry out and claim attacks.

Since 2015, Spain has been on alert level four, out of a maximum of five, with the last major attack in August 2017 when a group of young radicalised Moroccans mowed down pedestrians in Barcelona and a nearby seaside town, killing 16 and wounding 150.

Those attacks were masterminded by an imam based in a Catalan town who had recruited and radicalised a group of youngsters, almost all of whom were shot
dead by the police following the bloodshed.

The imam himself died in an accidental explosion while they were preparing the attack.

Spain suffered its most deadly attack on March 11, 2004, when Al Qaeda-inspired extremists blew up four commuter trains in Madrid, killing 191 people and injuring around 2,000.