A factory owner and about 10 employees were detained and many pins commemorating the royal cremation of King Rama IX seized during a raid in Bangkok’s Lat Phrao district on Friday morning.
A team of Crime Suppression Division police supported by soldiers searched the factory of Chayatham Co, which cover almost 2 rai, on Soi Lat Phrao 71.
They found Thai and migrant workers busily producing commemorative cremation pins. Moulds for pins, buckles and rings were seized.
Palangwat Thanakichayachat, alias Hia Kaew, admitted to being the owner of the firm. He and his employees were held for further questioning.
The raid followed the arrest of a 65-year-old woman in Tha Prachan area on Nov 15 and charged with selling counterfeit pins commemorating King Rama IX’s cremation, police said.
Thatsanee Horcharaskul, the owner of Ngern Thong shop, denied making them herself and told police she was not aware they were not legitimate. They reportedly were selling for 120 baht.
Investigators determined that Ms Thatsanee obtained them from Chayatham Co.
Pol Col Maitree Chimcherd, acting chief of the Crime Suppression Division, said police also found commemorative pins and coins produced for other special occasions at the Chayatham factory.
Authorities would find out whether these items were produced with permission or not, and whether the factory was operating legally.
Police would also investigate where the commemorative pins and coins were sold.
The factory employs 30-40 immigrant workers, Pol Col Maitree said. They would find out if they had work permits or not.
Mr Palangwat claimed a person working at the Office of the Permanent Secretary for the Prime Minister's Office had contacted him to produce commemorative items.
He had produced samples of 4 or 5 types for that person to see first. He said his factory was producing 700-800 pieces. The order was not yet completed. He had started making them 4 or 5 days ago, and had not sold any of them.
He said he had no knowledge of the shop where the reported fake pins were earlier seized.
Genuine royal cremation commemorative pins cost 300 baht and can be ordered through post offices for delivery in 30 days. There are no limits on the number that can be ordered.
Officials show moulds for the pins found at the factory. (Supplied photo)