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Bikini shop bust nets B10m in counterfeit stash

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Bikini shop bust nets B10m in counterfeit stash | Thaiger

PHUKET CITY: A bikini is normally donned to cover up a woman’s private parts, but a bikini-vending operation in downtown Phuket was found concealing something much larger, and with a different kind of value: a stash of more than 90,000 counterfeit T-shirts.

Officers from the Police Region 8 Investigation Center raided a secret warehouse in the center of Phuket City Saturday afternoon, seizing more than 10 million baht in counterfeit designer goods, police said.

Police Region 8 Investigations Inspector Lt Col Witsanu Chamroonroj, who led the raid, said the discovery of the warehouse followed an investigation into the illegal sale of knock-off CDs, DVDs, baseball caps and similar items on the island.

At about 5 pm, officers presented a search warrant to the female manager of a shop selling bikinis on Montri Rd, in the heart of Phuket City.

The operation was apparently just a front, as a subsequent search of some five three-story shophouses connected to it uncovered 90,503 counterfeit items, mostly T-shirts, bearing such well-known labels as Lacoste, Adidas, Nike, Diesel and Polo.

Police arrested the woman, who told them she had been employed by the owner to look after the goods.

She identified the owner only as ‘Hia Moo’ (Brother Moo), whose name indicates he is a wealthy man of ethnic Chinese descent.

Soon after the raid, top local police officers, including Provincial Police Chief Gen Apirak Hongthong and Phuket City Police Superintendent Pol Col Nos Svettalekha, were at the scene to help oversee the removal of the goods from the premises.

As the evidence in the case amounted to so many items, Kusoldharm Foundation workers were called in to assist in moving the garments to the Phuket Provincial Police Special Operations Unit storeroom in Phuket City.

The suspect was taken for questioning to Phuket City Police Station. She was charged with the sale of counterfeit goods and released on bail of 400,000 baht the following day, he said.

Lt Col Witsanu said he intends to liaise with Pol Maj Nanon Pitakkulthon of the Phuket City Police who is now in charge of finding out the real name and whereabouts of the mysterious Hia Moo.

As of August 12, investigators had learned that his real first name is ‘Nattawut’, but they still have been unable to determine his surname, Lt Col Witsanu said.

 

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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