GUANGZHOU, China, April 1 (UPI) -- Chinese police said Sunday they had shut down an underground factory that was allegedly making counterfeit designer handbags.
The raid took place in late March at an office building in a suburb of Guangzhou where more than 60 workers produced thousands of knockoff Prada and Chloe bags.
Lin Jingcheng, head of the inspection team from China's commerce bureau, estimated the black market value of the seized merchandise at more than 60 million yuan ($9.6 million).
China's official Xinhua news agency said Guangzhou has long been a center of the nation's legitimate leather-goods industry and a thriving underground for counterfeiting. The nation's growing middle class has fueled demand for fake designer goods, which Xinhua says are often of good quality.
"The vanity surrounding luxury goods drives up demand and keeps the underground workshops afloat," Lin said.