Afew weeks after the famed Silk Market's move into its new massive complex, a building with 1,500 stalls somewhere between a suburban North American shopping centre and the dozens of glass-and-steel-beam new airports cropping up in cities across China, a news flash appeared: some retailers were selling (gasp) fake goods. A squadron of plain-clothes members of the Chaoyang branch of the Beijing Municipal Administration for Industry and Commerce seized more than 300 copies of bags and clothing - which, according to the marketing manager of the company operating the centre, made up just 0.3 per cent of the market's goods. He said the company was implementing a three-strikes-and-you're-out policy for those who sell fakes. The old market may have sold its share of silk, but the main reason people flocked to the clothing stalls had little to do with the eponymous material. We went there looking for 'North Face' jackets, 'Gucci' handbags, 'genuine' pashminas and more. What defined the experience was knowing that you might find a handbag with one high-class logo on the outside and another on the inside: Who has bought 'designer' gear here without an inkling that they might not be getting the real deal? Wasn't that the reason we went? The Silk Market, to be sure, was not all about fakes. Some of the best outdoor equipment, shoes and bags in town could be found, and locals familiar with the market could wind their way through tourist traffic to these select stalls, and be in and out in record time. But the tourist invasion sent the residents to other markets. To the officials inside the US embassy, which provided the backdrop to a portion of the market, it must have felt like a daily slap across the face. No matter how vocal the US was against China's trade in pirated goods, day after day, 'Gore-Tex' jackets and 'Nike' shoes changed hands on the embassy's doorstep. It took a terrorist attack for the calls for a crackdown to be realised: post-September-11 security measures did what years of shouting and negotiating could not, and a good portion of the stalls which lined the street in front of the embassy were closed. But trade continued as the market began shrinking. And despite the near-riots that plagued the original market's final day, the new venue opened. But it remains to be seen whether pirated goods will be banished from the new Silk Market, and if so, how the stall holders will fare. If pirated goods are banned, people will inevitably discover any number of alternatives around town. The Silk Market is, as any resident will tell you, where tourists go - and get ripped off.