Russia’s customs service has foiled an attempt to smuggle a massive amount of counterfeit Cheburashka toys into the country from China, the agency said on Wednesday.
The cargo was intercepted in the city of Ussuriisk, in Russia’s Far East, and was found in the possession of a Chinese national who was traveling by bus. The man caught the attention of customs officers with his unusually large luggage consisting of seven massive bags, customs said.
The bags contained nearly 1,200 Cheburashka plush toys, with the loot weighing around 700 kilograms. Footage released by the service shows customs officers examining the toys and weighing them on large industrial scales. ‘Cheburashkas’ appear to be flat and flabby, apparently devoid of padding.
The man admitted he was delivering the stuffed cargo to a friend who intended to sell the toys. The stuffed animals turned out to be made illegally, with the owner of the rights, Russia’s largest animation studio, Soyuzmultfilm, taking legal action against the smuggler. The plush runner now faces a fine, the customs service said.
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Cheburashka was originally created by Soviet writer Eduard Uspensky for his 1965 children’s book “Gena the Crocodile and His Friends”. The popular big-eared character has appeared in several stop-motion animated films, as well as a family blockbuster released earlier this year, further fueling his popularity.
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