Yonhap News reports that the toys were smuggled into South Korea between April 25th and June 2nd this year. Some of them were already used as claw crane game prizes at arcades. And that happened without the necessary permissions.
Authorities say the grand total of the caught stuffed animals is a whopping 530 000. The toys were made in China, but without the needed permissions by The Pokemon Company. The authorities have tracked and removed the toys at arcade games, too. Even so, it’s not immediately clear how many if any made into the hands of crane game winners.
The total stockpile is reportedly worth over 6 million dollars, Kotaku reports. Pokemon is quite popular in South Korea, but not to the levels of say Japan or the US. This means that not all fans are widely familiar with the brands that make the toys and with the toys themselves.
Which means it easier for fakes to slip through the net. The captured Pokemon plushies remain in holding for now. Still, we hope that analysis will show they are completely safe and will be used for donations for example. It’s a shame to destroy such seized items when they can help others.