Hawkers on piracy charges after brawl with US soldiers

Hawkers on piracy charges after brawl with US soldiers

Some of the arrested Pattaya hawkers and the fake watches seized from them, at Pattaya police station on Wednesday night. (Photo by Chaiyot Pupattanapong)
Some of the arrested Pattaya hawkers and the fake watches seized from them, at Pattaya police station on Wednesday night. (Photo by Chaiyot Pupattanapong)

PATTAYA: Street sellers hawking fake brand name watches who were involved in a fracas with US soldiers have been rounded up by police and charged with selling pirated goods.

Pol Lt Col Piyapong Ensan, of Pattaya tourist police, said the six men were arrested in possession of 40 pirated watches on Wednesday night. They were charged with selling pirated products, which carries a  jail term of up to one year and/or fine of up to 2,000 baht.

The arrests followed reports that a group of US soldiers were attacked by Pattaya watch sellers last weekend. They had come to Thailand to take part in the Cobra Gold military exercise last month.

Uthit Suthok, 45, admitted he was involved in the brief brawl, according to police. He claimed that when he tried to sell them a watch one of the Americans threw it on the ground and stepped on it.

When he tried to take their pictures, a soldier slapped his head. So, he had to fight back in self defence. His younger brother rushed to help him and the brief fight expanded, Mr Uthit said.

Police fined him and his brother 5,000 baht each for brawling, and six US soldiers were fined 1,000 baht each, Pol Lt Col Piyapong said.

Video of the incident posted on social media clearly showed one Thai man retreating from the brawl with a bleeding nose.

Pol Lt Col Theerasak Saengsri, a detective at Pattaya police station, claimed police were actively trying to rid the streets of annoying hawkers.


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