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DSI stops the music, seizes illegal Phuket karaoke machines



PHUKET: Officers from the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) Region 8 headquarters in Surat Thani landed on the island last night to raid nine karaoke bars for music rights infringement.

Led by DSI Region 8 Director Udom Phetcharakut, the officers raided venues in Phuket Town and Kathu, starting at 8:30pm.

Along for the ride were legal representatives of the music companies who filed complaints to the DSI about their music rights being infringed upon.

The karaoke venues raided were: Som (Orange) Karaoke, Soi Fah (Blue Street or Sky Street) karaoke, Nong Mark (Little Mark) karaoke, Sila (Stone) karaoke, Nong Green (Little Green) karaoke, Nong Joy (Little Joy) karaoke, Mae Yai (Mother-in-law) karaoke, Namphueng (Honey) karaoke and Lom Nuea (Northern Wind) karaoke.

The DSI teams seized the one karaoke machine installed at each of the nine venues.

“The owners of the karaoke bars said they didn’t know their karaoke machines were illegal. They each rented one from the same company, which received a 30 per cent commission on each song played,” Mr Udom explained.

“The salesman confirmed to all of them that the machines were legal. Each machine has a sticker on it confirming it is fully compliant with music copyright laws, and even features an expiration date… But the karaoke bar owners did not know the stickers were fakes,” he said.

The nine machines were taken to Phuket Provincial Hall, from where they were to be moved on to DSI Region 8 headquarters in Surat Thani.

“The owners of karaoke bars were charged with contravening music copyright laws,” Mr Udom said.

However, he declined to name the karaoke machine company or the people operating it until the DSI officers had arrested them.

The music raids last night came hot on the heels of a two-day DSI crackdown on illegal taxis and illegal tourism businesses in Phuket (story here).

It also follows DSI officers rescuing Burmese women from forced prostitution rackets in Phuket and Phang Nga (story here).

— Kritsada Mueanhawong


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