Government launches crackdown on pirated goods
The same week law enforcement agents seized over $1.5 million worth of counterfeit goods, the Thai government announced its intention to completely eliminate the presence and sale of pirated good of all types from the six most notorious markets for those goods in the country during the next month.
Officers from the Department of Special Investigations (DSI), Thailand’s equivalent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, confiscated over 100,000 items from two warehouses in Bangkok and a house in Nonthaburi, a suburb of the capital. They included cellphones, batteries, handbags and cosmetics bearing name brands, and investigators believe they were smuggled in from across the border somewhere in the northeast.
Although no suspects were arrested, DSI chief Police Colonel Paisit Wongmuang said the pirated goods were contraband trafficked in by one of four or five major gangs involved in smuggling. He was visibly angry when talking about the smugglers, saying they were damaging the reputation and Thailand and its law enforcement agencies that are working hard to suppress the illegal trade.
Under orders from Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, the head of the Intellectual Property Department vowed last week to completely eliminate the sale of all pirated goods at six major markets by the end of next month.
The markets are Maboonkrong (MBK) shopping center, Pantip Plaza, Klong Thom, Ban Mor and Chatuchak weekend market, all in Bangkok. Rong Klua market in Sa Kaeo on the border with Cambodia is also being targeted.
Raids at the various markets have already been taking place, and Intellectual Property Department (IPD) director-general Thosapone Dansuputra said that most counterfeit goods had already disappeared from Pantip Plaza, Klong Thom and Ban Mor during inspections last week, but that his department would maintain its pressure and measures to ensure none at all can be found.
Thailand is far from the only country in Asia nor in the world where counterfeit and pirated goods are easily found. Many of the counterfeits are actually made in other countries and smuggled in. Artists and manufacturers have been victimized by pirated and counterfeit goods and have rallied behind government efforts to eliminate them.