The Rise of Bearbrick Dolls: From Expensive Collectibles to Money Laundering Tools

The Rising Popularity of Bearbrick Dolls and their Involvement in Money Laundering


Bearbrick dolls, produced by Japanese toy maker Medicom Toy, have gained tremendous popularity over the years. These collectible toys, designed by renowned artists, are sought after by collectors and fashion leaders worldwide. However, their rising popularity has also made them attractive to criminal organizations for money laundering purposes.

The Expensive Price and Society’s Fascination

Bearbrick dolls have become a central item in society, with their plush versions commanding exorbitant prices. Their presence in conflicts, crimes, and news stories in countries like Singapore and Thailand has spiked public interest.

Seizure of Bearbrick Dolls in Singapore and Thailand

In August 2023, the Singapore Police conducted clean-up operations on a crime gang involved in various illegal activities. The gang was found to possess not only cash, real estate, and luxury branded items but also at least 60 limited edition Bearbrick dolls. These dolls, popular for their collaborations with famous designers and brands, are highly valued by collectors.

In Thailand, the doll also made headlines when the police seized Bearbrick dolls from the custody of a police officer suspected of being involved in an online gambling website. The dolls were found during searches of residences and a pickup truck associated with the case.

About Bearbrick Dolls and their Popularity

First produced in 2001 as a gift at the World Character Convention in Tokyo, Bearbrick dolls have evolved into highly collectible toys. They are designed by famous artists, with each series comprising 18 dolls featuring different themes. Additionally, Bearbrick dolls have collaborated with numerous clothing brands and graffiti artists, further increasing their appeal.

Over the years, Medicom Toy has capitalized on the cultural trends, collaborating with figures from film, music, art, and high fashion industries. Noteworthy collaborators include HR Giger and Vivienne Westwood. The dolls have garnered attention from famous names like Pharrell Williams, Seth Rogen, and RM from BTS, further elevating their status.

Bearbrick Dolls as Tools for Money Laundering

Experts believe that Bearbrick dolls have become an effective tool for money laundering due to their high value and difficulty in tracking financial routes. Dr. Jamie Ferrill, Head of the Financial Crimes Department at Charles Sturt University, explains that money laundering aims to disconnect illegal income from the money itself. Bearbrick dolls, with their luxury appeal, allow criminals to make significant purchases without arousing suspicion.

Luxury products, including Bearbrick dolls, are favored for money laundering due to their high value and the absence of strict regulations governing their sale. Unlike buying a house or a luxury car, which leaves a traceable money trail, luxury collectibles can be easily carried across borders without much scrutiny.

Involvement of Bearbrick Dolls in Money Laundering Gangs

Anton Moysenko, an academic specializing in transnational crime, explains that money laundering gangs find luxury products and collectibles, such as Bearbrick dolls, appealing as they help separate illegal business profits and increase their value. These luxury items are not subject to the same anti-money laundering regulations as gold, precious metals, or art, making them more convenient for criminals.

The lack of reporting requirements for businesses involved in buying and selling luxury items makes it easier for money launderers to operate without apprehension. The high demand for luxury collectibles in unregulated or black markets further enhances their feasibility for money laundering purposes.


Bearbrick dolls have gained immense popularity as collectible toys, attracting the attention of collectors and fashion leaders globally. However, their high value and unregulated market have made them attractive options for money laundering gangs. The unique characteristics of luxury collectibles, combined with their ease of transport and lack of strict regulations, make them a preferred choice for criminals seeking to hide illegal funds.

References: ABC Australia, The Strait Times

Now a plush doll Bearbrick (Bearbrick) has the most expensive price It is becoming very interesting in the society. The latter has appeared as “A central item” in news related to the conflicta crimebig time inSingaporeaThai At the same time

In August Singapore PoliceConduct gang clean-up operations.”gray Chinese capital” 10 people from Fujian Province and a large number of items were confiscated. since real estate cash Currency Vacations and luxury branded luggage to Rolls Royce and Bentley cars

In addition to the above items, Singapore police also confiscate dolls Bearbrick At least 60 limited edition models produced by the company.a toyJapanese nationality, who often designs together with famous designers and brands. and is in high demand among collectors and fashion leaders.

– Bearbrick doll collectibles (Bearbrick) A total of about 60 animals seized by the Singaporean police from a gang from the gray Chinese capital in August 2023 (photo credit: SINGAPORE POLICE) –

The Singapore police claim these seized assets came from the organisation.crime gangIllegal abroad Including deception andonline gambling before moving to Singapore and entering the processmoney launderingIn a country known as the financial Center of Asia or the “Switzerland of the East” asFinance HubIt is efficient and has a low crime rate.

Then the doll Bearbrick A name keeps appearing in the big news in Thailand. After a report on September 26 that the police, Information Technology Crime Prevention Centre, Set 5 (PCT 5) is kept in the custody of Pol Maj Gen. Namkiat Teerarojanapong, commander of the Royal Thai Police. One of the 8 closest subordinates of “Big joke” Pol.Gen.Surachet Hakphal Deputy Commissioner of the Royal Thai Police (Deputy Police Commander) on the basis that he is a suspect in a related caseonline gambling site Came to inquire and file payments. in Metropolitan Police Department 5 (Regional Police Department 5) after finding that Pol. Maj. Gen. Namkiat hasfinancial route From another person’s account to your own

– Bearbrick doll (Bearbrick) that PCT police seized from the residence of a policeman who was a suspect in a case involving an online gambling website on September 26, 2023 (Photo credit: Nation Online) –

Later, another PCT police team cameA central itemIn the case of a pickup truck brought to Metropolitan Police Department 5, it contained crates of documents and various important items, includingBearbrick doll a certain amount and a frowning doll Alex Face (Alex Face) was seized from a search of the residence on the same day.

Such operations areExpand the resultsAfter Pol. Sub-Gen. Trirong Phiwphan, commander of the KMC, head of the team PCT 5 Forces were sent with a search warrant to search the Pol’s residence.Surachet Hakphal In Vibhavadi area on September 25th.

What are Bearbrick dolls?

Originally a doll Bearbrick First produced by “A Medicom toy” Japanese toy maker in 2001 as a gift to visitors to the World Character Convention in Tokyo.

in addition Bearbrick still iscollectible toysDesigned by many famous artists abroad. and launched as a set or series It is released twice a year. Each series has 18 dolls with different themes, such as cute, animal, or artistic patterns.

Meanwhile plush dollHe has also built his reputation by collaborating with clothing brands.Street clothesand shoessneakersin Stussy a Nike Including famous graffiti artists such as KAWS and Futura.

Many years later Medicom Turn to catch the trendcontemporary cultureTo be an inspiration for the film, music, art and high fashion industries with support fromdesignerlead (now deceased) since then Giger insists (HR Giger) until Vivienne Westwood (Vivienne Westwood)

For collectors Bearbrick famous including Pharrell Williams American singer, songwriter and producer. Seth Rogen Canadian actor and filmmaker and RM The leader of the world-class K-pop boy band BTS

Why has it become a popular money laundering option?

Experts consider that the doll Bearbrick Come “dessert” inmoney launderingFor criminal gangs because they follow their tracksfinancial routedifficult and with a very high value,illegal moneyYou can buy without suspicion.

– Bearbrick doll (Bearbrick) various designs, including a Winnie the Pooh pattern. Famous cartoon characters (Credit: Shutterstock) –

Dr Jamie Ferrill, Head of the Financial Crimes Department at Charles Sturt University in Australia, said that aimmoney laundering is to break the connection between “money“with”Illegal source of income

“This is usually done through a transaction on the website,” said Dr Ferrill. “If a large amount of money is spent all at once in a state-regulated industry, the official will seemoney linedirectly between the criminal and the destination where the money was transferred This makes it easier to trace and arrest in accordance with the law.”

Moreover, this expert added that With a high value ofLuxury productsDifferent types make it more favorable tomoney launderingvery much

“If the doll Bearbrick One is worth about $100, launderingYou can buy it too.dirty money without any doubt at all It also looks legal becausecollectorWe use this method every day. “

outside the rule of law

In addition to the value Another feature of luxury products that is beneficial tomoney laundering gang That is, it can be carried anywhere becauseThere is no law to control it.

Dr. Ferrill said that carryingBrand name bagsor carryBearbrick doll Crossing borders is easier compared to comingIllegal moneyGo buy a house or a luxury car. Because right now CollectionsThe above is not yet regulated by law in most countries.

while Anton Moysenko, an academic who specializes in transnational crime, economic crime and the Australian National University’s (ANU) cybercrime department says it makes a lot of sense tomoney laundering gang To invest inLuxury productsand collectables such as dolls Bearbrick

Buy and sell these products Help separate money fromillegal business But at the same time it helpsSpin the valueIt is easier to collect things abroad. Moysenko added thoughGold, precious metals, gems aa work of artAll have appropriate launderingAll except products such as luxury brand bags andcollectible toysExpensive, it has certain advantages

“Businesses that buy and sell these luxury items are usually not covered by anti-money laundering laws. Unlike gold dealers or auction houses. This means they do not need to report customer names or suspicious activity to the authorities.”

The same academic concluded that From a money launderer’s point of view luxury collectiblesSo it is in high demand becauseExpensiveaHigh liquidityIn an unregulated market orblack market

References: ABC Australia, The Strait Times

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