PHUKET: Two separate raids in Phuket over the past week have netted pirated copyrighted goods with a combined street value of more than 15 million baht.
Prayut Maneechote, director of the Customs Bureau regional head office in Haad Yai, on Monday announced that a team of his officers had traced an illegal importing network of pirated goods to a warehouse in Phuket.
Officers conducted the raid,on December 23, and among the goods seized were items of clothing, including jeans, socks, shoes and hats, as well as luggage and glasses all of well-known brand names such as Gucci, Prada, Adidas Polo and Diesel, said Mr Prayut.
“We have been following this gang. We believe they are part of a large operation importing pirate goods into Southern Thailand,” Mr Prayut said.
However, despite the huge haul in goods seized, not a single arrest was made.
“On the day we carried out the raid, they were tipped off before we got to them. We seized all the goods and sent them to Sadao checkpoint [on the Malaysian border] for further investigation,” Mr Prayut said.
The regional Customs chief warned that his officers will be especially vigilant at border checkpoints over the new year.
“The smuggling of pirated goods into the Kingdom is an ongoing problem. I have ordered officers to be strict in every area, especially during the new year.
“I have asked officers to be on the lookout for items such as foreign cigarettes and alcohol, which are very popular items smuggled in at this time of year,” he said.
Meanwhile, on December 25 the Economic Crime Division Police Unit Deputy Commander Col Kitthi Sampaothong joined Patong Police in a raid of three stalls on Soi Bangla.
On hand to identify the imitation brand-name items on sale was Kriangsak Sukitanon, a representative of Louis Vuitton Malletier in Thailand.
Led by Patong Police Crime Suppression Unit chief Lt Col Thammasan Boonsong, officers seized items, including clothing, watches, hats, glasses, purses and handbags, with a combined street value of more than 500,000 baht.
The three people found operating the stalls were arrested and charged with possession with intent to sell of registered trade-mark goods of another person.
Police named the suspects as Itthipan Saetua, 30; Thanachote PreedeePhattakul, 32; and Ketsarin Saeong, 30.
“They all confessed that they sold pirated goods,” said Capt Pathapee Srichai.
“However, we have yet to determine whether they are actually the real owners of the stalls.”
The three suspects were taken to Patong Police Station for further questioning, he added.
— Warisa Temram
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