Asked for a gramme, he offers no less than five. Five grammes of “crystal” for two hundred euros. The young Asian with a baseball cap, maybe sixteen years old, is standing in front of his booth full of jeans and T-shirts in the West Bohemian town of Cheb (known as Eger to Germans). “You are German, yes? Come with me, there’s plenty more.”

On a huge parking area right next to a shopping centre is one of the so-called “Vietnamese markets” selling clothing, shoes and cigarettes that are popping up along the borders of the Czech Republic. But on this afternoon the row of booths, about a hundred metres long, is deserted, and the vendors are cooling their heels. The interest in pirated brands has apparently fallen off steeply. The demand for a substance that is still illegal in Germany, on the other hand, is gladly satisfied.

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