Pirated goods worth 30 million baht (US$925,000) were seized by authorities during raids this week on the resort island of Koh Samui in southern Thailand and in the ancient capital of Ayutthaya in the central region of the country.
In the first raid on Koh Samui, police checked 12 shops selling brand-name clothes, shoes, bags and watches and arrested 10 shop vendors with counterfeit goods worth 30 million baht. The raid was captured on video by a Thai TV station.
The raids came after police investigations revealed a lot of pirated goods and items with false trademarks were being sold to tourists on Koh Samui by people who appeared to have no fear of the law.
The raid was led by Ronnarong Thipsiri, the Director of the Crime Investigation and Suppression Division, Kittipob Rorddorn, the district chief in Koh Samui, and Poolsuk Sopanapratomruk, the Senior Deputy District Chief, and a team of officials and police.
According to Ronnarong, the Department of Provincial Administration had visited one area on Koh Samui where a lot pirated goods were on sale despite a campaign to try to end the practice. Police and shop vendors had signed a contract stating that from September onwards there would not be any pirated goods sold in the market.
However, authorities later received many complaints about counterfeit goods in the market. The raid netted the biggest haul of pirated goods and arrests on Koh Samui to date. Offenders found guilty face a penalty of four years of jail or a fine of 400,000 baht.
The second raid was led by the Phanakhon Sri Ayutthaya Provincial Police team and Kevin Harrington, a US law enforcement official working with local authorities. The team arrested shop vendors and confiscated 3,000 products such as brand-name bags, sport shoes and football shirts worth 1.3 million baht from the Rong Kluea market in Nawanakorn, Ayutthaya.
Four Burmese were also arrested for working in Thailand without a work visa.
The raid in Ayutthaya was launched after an investigation by the Technology Crime Suppress Division, which discovered that many vendors in the market were selling pirated goods online. Investigators discovered many shop vendors were selling pirated goods via Facebook, Instragram and Line, a popular online chat application in Thailand.
After a series of arrests at shops at a market in the seaside tourist resort of Pattaya and in Yaowaraj in Bangkok – the capital’s Chinatown – the next target was the Rong Kluea market in Ayutthaya’s Nawanakorn district, where large amounts of fake products were on sale.
Officials claim the crackdown will continue.