BATA/Getty Images Image caption Cheap but comfy sandals vs coveted Hermes Birkin bags There’s a classic quote from Sex and the City that goes: “It’s not a bag. It’s a Birkin”.
The French luxury handbag, an international symbol of wealth and status, made a return to the spotlight this week in an unlikely place: a shopping trolley pushed by police in Malaysia.
Late Wednesday night, dozens of armed police officers raided the private apartments of ex-Prime Minister Najib Razak, a week after his dramatic election defeat to former ally, Mahathir Mohammad .
In further raids on properties linked to him, police seized more than 200 boxes of luxury items, along with 72 bags of jewellery, cash of various denominations, watches and other valuables. Image copyright EPA Image caption Boxes after boxes of Hermes Birkin bags were carted away on high security police trucks
Among the haul were dozens of orange boxes containing Hermes bags (orange is the brand’s signature colour) apparently belonging to former first lady Rosmah Mansor.
A Hermes Birkin bag can cost anything from $8,000 (£6,000) to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Much of the police action was live-streamed online, so Malaysians have watched as the precious bags were loaded on to supermarket shopping trolleys (“The irony of this scene,” tweeted one Malaysian) before being loaded on to waiting police trucks and taken away.
Mr Najib’s lawyer has complained that the raids amount to “unwarranted harassment” and that the items seized “would seem of insignificant value”.
But for many Malaysians, the haul symbolises the corruption allegations and reported lavish living which contributed to Mr Najib’s downfall.

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