China Accused of Flooding Britain with Fake Royal Mail Stamps; Experts Term it as 'Economic Warfare'

By Leira Aquino

Apr 10, 2024 11:18 PM EDT

Royal Mail Release Definitive King Charles III Stamps
A sheet of the new first class stamps featuring a likeness of King Charles III is seen in a display case at the Royal Mail Museum. An investigation by the Daily Telegraph has uncovered China's alleged flooding of the British market with counterfeit Royal Mail stamps, sparking concerns among security experts and MPs who view it as an "act of economic warfare."
(Photo : Leon Neal/Getty Images)

China is allegedly flooding the British market with counterfeit Royal Mail stamps, Daily Telegraph reported Wednesday.

The news has sparked concerns among security experts and MPs, who have termed it as an "act of economic warfare."

Counterfeit Chinese Stamps Flood UK Market

The report from The Telegraph revealed that these fake stamps from China are being sold for as little as 4p each, causing an uptick in complaints from customers who have unknowingly purchased them from legitimate stores. 

This has led to instances where letters sent using these counterfeit stamps are flagged as fraudulent, resulting in a £5 penalty for the recipients.

According to sources close to Royal Mail, the counterfeit stamps are being produced at a staggering rate of up to one million per week by four Chinese suppliers. 

These stamps are then distributed through various channels, including online retail platforms like Amazon and eBay, as well as websites mimicking the official Royal Mail store.

Post Office minister Kevin Hollinrake expressed concern over the situation, emphasizing the need to prevent counterfeit stamps from entering the United Kingdom's supply chain. 

In his interview with The Telegraph, Hollinrake said he expects Royal Mail to investigate the origins of these fake stamps and how they are making their way into the marketplace.

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Experts Warn Fake Stamp Production Poses Threat of 'Economic Warfare'

Security experts have also raised alarm bells, likening the mass production of counterfeit stamps to "economic warfare." 

As per Britannica, nations participating in economic warfare seek to weaken a rival's economy by limiting its access to vital physical, financial, and technological resources or by hindering its capacity to gain advantages from international trade, financial activities, and technological collaborations with other nations.

Meanwhile, David Gold, director of external affairs and policy at Royal Mail, admitted the challenge of distinguishing between genuine and fake stamps to the point that "even I, and I work for Royal Mail, I can't tell the difference just by looking at them."

The issue extends beyond financial repercussions, as it has also raised questions about national security. 

Alan Mendoza, founder of the national think-tank Henry Jackson Society, described the counterfeiting operation as damaging to the British economy and suggested it could not happen without tacit approval from the Chinese Communist Party.

Both Amazon and eBay, where some of these fake stamps are being sold, have reiterated their policies against counterfeit items and pledged to collaborate with Royal Mail and law enforcement agencies to address the issue.

The Royal Mail, meanwhile, has stepped up efforts to combat the influx of counterfeit stamps, working closely with retailers and law enforcement to identify and remove suspicious listings.

"We are working hard to remove counterfeit stamps from circulation," a spokesperson for Royal Mail told PA news agency.

Over the past year, it said it has removed over 300 questionable listings, including those on Amazon and eBay.

READ MORE: Russia, China Agree to Boost Economic and Security Ties to Counter US Dominance in Europe and Asia

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