Tick-tock shock: Thai Customs admits time’s up for fake luxury watches in auction

Photo via ThaiPost

In a startling revelation, the Thai Customs Department acknowledged they sold fake luxury watches in one of their auctions. Consequently, the authorities took swift action by cancelling the auction and promising to refund the money to all affected buyers.

Three victims approached the media seeking assistance after they discovered they had unknowingly acquired counterfeit designer brand watches from the Thai Customs auction held on July 6. Placing their trust in the department, they never anticipated becoming victims of deceit. The fraudulent timepieces included two Richard Mille watches, one Patek Philippe, and one Rolex.

According to the victims, these watches were obtained through a Thai Customs auction. Upon winning their bids, they collected their purchases the following day, only to realize that they had been duped with counterfeit products.

One of the victims, 47 year old Pat Boondate, disclosed that she had acquired a Richard Mille RM07 No. 3287, a stunning timepiece adorned with diamonds around the outer ring of its case, for 2.2 million baht. Additionally, a relative of hers had purchased a Patek Philippe 5167 for 1.89 million baht. Pat considered these prices remarkably affordable compared to the estimated values, even for second-hand items.

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Pat further explained that she had been warned by many individuals to avoid buying goods from Thai Customs due to the prevalence of counterfeit products but she did not take the warnings. Pat expressed her fear and swore never to make another purchase from the department.

Another victim, 60 year old Kitthanachai Chimsutthi, explained that his daughter bought two watches for him. The first was a Richard Mille Rafael Nadal worth 4.5 million baht which was a lot cheaper than the estimated price at 15 million baht. Another was a Rolex Daytona which was worth 650,000 baht.

Seeking further assurance, Kitthanachai even sent pictures of the watches to Expert Watch Repair, a reputable website based in Dubai, for verification. The results confirmed the watches were counterfeit.

A Thai Customs spokesperson, Phanthong Loikunlanun, admitted that all of the watches in the auction were fake. Phanthong explained that all of the watches were seized from a shop in Siam Square One shopping mall on July 24 of last year.

The copyright owner of the watches initially verified 13 out of the 14 timepieces as authentic, leading the department to include them in the auction. The auction announcement was made on June 28, and buyers were allowed to inspect the products at the department on July 5. The auction commenced on July 6 and attracted 18 people.

Phanthong insisted that the officers investigated the issue after it occurred. The copyright owner came to check the watches again and stated that all of them were fake. The department then held a meeting with the victims and agreed to return all of the money to them.

Phanthong extended an apology on behalf of the department and assured the public that they would exercise greater caution in future product auctions to avoid similar occurrences.

The victims anticipated that there might be corruption within the department, and the corrupted authorities might have replaced genuine watches with counterfeits.

The victims speculated what would have happened if they did not discover the counterfeit watches, and kept them for years to sell them at a higher price. They concluded that it would have been too late and left them without any compensation.

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Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger who focuses on translating breakingThai news stories into English. With a background in field journalism, Petch brings several years of experience to the English News desk at The Thaiger. Before joining The Thaiger, Petch worked as a content writer for several known blogging sites in Bangkok, including Happio and The Smart Local. Her articles have been syndicated by many big publishers in Thailand and internationally, including the Daily Mail, The Sun and the Bangkok Post. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp! But during office hours, you can find Petch on LinkedIn and you can reach her by email at petch@thethaiger.com.

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