Pokémon are meant to be caught, after all.
For most of us, catching Pokémon is a leisure and entertainment activity. For law enforcement authorities in Korea, though, it was recently part of their professional duties.
As it does in many countries, the Pokémon franchise enjoys considerable popularity in Korea, with shipments of merchandise regularly flowing into the nation to keep fans happy. Not all of those items are legit, though, and a video from Korea’s YTN News shows a massive collection of bootleg Pokémon plushies, part of a reported 530,000 fakes which were smuggled into Korea between April 25 and June 2.
With apparently more seized Pocket Monsters than available Poké Balls, the plushies are seen standing in a warehouse, grouped by species. While the facial expressions of some are a little off, they’re all instantly recognizable as creatures from the hit anime/video game franchise (certainly they look more like the genuine article than our reporter Mr. Sato, photographed at the top of this article, does).
Of particular note is the scene at the 32-second mark where agents can be seen unceremoniously dumping a box full of Laprases, with their great numbers belying their official in-game status as an endangered Pokémon.
▼ Later in the video, we can see that among the other counterfeits seized were fake versions of Hello Kitty, Doraemon, and Studio Ghibli’s Totoro, dressed in a red turtleneck sweater for some reason.
According to the authorities, these knockoffs were bound for Korean arcades, where they would have been used as prizes for crane games. There’s no word on what will become of all these detained Pokémon now, although the most likely fates for them are probably destruction or being sent to Professor Willow in exchange for a lot of candy.