The five-day ‘Shaheen’ operation ordered by Director General of Public Security HE Staff  Major General Saad bin Jassim Al Khulaifi to raid those places that stored illicit and fake goods and counterfeit products that violated intellectual property rights concluded on Sunday 16 March 2014.

The operation was carried out by the Ministry of Interior (MoI) represented by Arab and International Police Communication Department in cooperation with Interpol. The operation was launched in the wake of the Interpol Regional Program to Counter Trafficking in Illicit Goods and Intellectual Property Crimes in Qatar on 9 to 11 March 2014. Representatives from neighboring countries inclduing Saudi Arabia, Oman, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain and other Middle Eastern countries attended the meeting. The operation was carried out as a practical implementation of papers presented in the programme.

According to Interpol MENA Coordinator and Operations Officer, Aiham Yasmeenia, the ‘Shaheen’ operation was first of its kind in MENA region to rein in the counterfeit and illicit goods and products. A coordination office was set up between MoI and Interpol for this purpose and other authorities such General Authority of Customs, Consumer Protection Department also participated in the operation.

The process lasted approximately five days, and included various parts of the state through the inspection campaigns on shops, stores, warehouses, and 147 people were referred to investigation authorities, as well as 51,000 electric items such as lights, electric welding ribbons, fuses were sized. A large number of counterfeit audio and video products and auto parts, expired food stuff items and non-standard building materials, as well as some computers, printers and mobile phones were also seized during the campaign.

Yasmeenia added that there was another team in the General Secretariat of Interpol which followed the operation daily, provided information and research data in the databases of the organisation, and passed to the Arab and international Police Department in Qatar, which circulated the information to all operating units.

According to a representative of the MoI and the Criminal Information Officer at INTERPOL, Falah Al Dosari, the preparation for the operation has been done in coordination with the MoI, Customs Authority and Consumer Protection Department of the Ministry of Economy and Trade. The parties coordinated meetings to conceptualise and rehearse the operation in daily trainings programmes and meetings. Al Dosari said:

Ministry of Interior is in constant touch and contact with Interpol, for all that is new and useful for the region in general and Qatar in particular…we may see in the future, ‘Shaheen 2’ and ‘Shaheen 3′ on a broader regional scale and in a more comprehensive way through the exchange of information with neighboring countries.’

The databases of information on suspicious entities was made available by the Department of Consumer Protection, and the General Authority of Customs and was transferred Arab and international Police Department – Qatar (Interpol National Center – Qatar).

According to Al Dosari, the operation proved that those behind the counterfeit products focused on certain goods. 20,000 fake auto spare parts including tires, brakes, balance devices, air filters and various kinds of spare parts. 31,000 expired food items with manipulation in expiry dates to sell them again. In addition, there were 4,000 liters of sterilisation gels used in hospitals that has expired two years ago.