Up in smoke: Royal Thai Police extinguish counterfeit cigarette ring

A major counterfeit cigarette network, known as Jae Pen Fang Thon, has been dismantled by the Royal Thai Police and the Department of Excise. The operation led to the arrest of 55 year old Tawan, and the seizure of an extensive cache of contraband, resulting in an estimated loss of 45 million baht to the state.

The operation took place at 11am today, at the Pracha Araksa Building. Among the officials involved were Sophon Saraphat, deputy chief of the police, and Ekaniti Nititatprapha, Director-General of the Excise Department.

The items confiscated from Tawan included 4,881 cartons of various brands of counterfeit cigarettes, equating to 48,810 packets, alongside a Toyota Fortuner and a closed van. The arrest was made at the Thai Post office in Thap Thai, Pong Nam Ron district, Chanthaburi province.

The crackdown followed the arrest of the Jae Pen counterfeit cigarette network, which is a major player in the Thonburi district. The operation yielded 40 crates of foreign cigarettes, approximately 20,973 packets.

Investigations revealed these counterfeit cigarettes were smuggled into the country from neighbouring nations before being sorted into postal boxes. This made them resemble regular parcels, allowing for distribution to customers via private transport to avoid inspection.

Sophon revealed that, upon locating the leads, it was discovered that the suspects were preparing to deliver a large lot of counterfeit cigarettes to customers via the Thap Thai Post office. This led to the apprehension of Tawan, who confessed to buying counterfeit cigarettes from Jae Oon, a Cambodian woman, three to four times a week. Each purchase consisted of 50-100 boxes or 4,000-6,000 cartons, which were then distributed to customers in various areas.

Financial investigations uncovered that the network had a turnover of over 40 million baht in one year. Following this, further investigations will be carried out to identify additional accomplices.

Tawan was charged with aiding and abetting the sale and possession of goods that had not undergone customs procedures and tax evasion. He was handed over to the investigators of the second section of the Excise Department for further legal proceedings.

Ekaniti stated that the seized counterfeit cigarettes were valued at 5-6 million baht. Based on this, the tax that should have been paid to the state amounted to 45 million baht. This figure represents the loss or deprivation of benefits to the state if these counterfeit cigarettes had been imported into the country, reported KhaoSod.

Crime NewsThailand News

Nattapong Westwood

Nattapong Westwood is a Bangkok-born writer who is half Thai and half Aussie. He studied in an international school in Bangkok and then pursued journalism studies in Melbourne. Nattapong began his career as a freelance writer before joining Thaiger. His passion for news writing fuels his dedication to the craft, as he consistently strives to deliver engaging content to his audience.

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