Rong Kluea raids net another B10m in fake goods
published : 5 Mar 2016 at 17:23
writer: Sawat Ketngam
SA KAEO — Authorities have seized another 10 million baht worth of counterfeit brand-name goods in raids on the notorious Rong Kluea border market, where they have vowed to wipe out the knock-off trade by the end of April.
Police and soldiers from the Burapha Task Force, with search warrants from the provincial court, led local authorities to raid two locations near the market in Aranyaprathet district on Saturday and confiscated numerous fake products. The operation followed a similar crackdown on Thursday night at five locations.
Their two-day clampdown found a large assortment of bags, sunglasses, eyeglasses and shoes copied from famous brands. The fake products found during on Saturday alone were estimated to be worth more than 10 million baht, authorities said.
At one warehouse near the border, they also found a locked door that provided illegal access to Cambodian territory. Rong Kluea is opposite Poipet town in Cambodia.
Suwira Songmetta, an assistant to the national police chief, and Sa Kaeo governor Pakarathorn Thienchai said on Saturday that the raids were undertaken under a government policy to wipe out fake products from the border market.
Rong Kluea has long been known as a paradise for shoppers looking for second-hand clothes brought in from Cambodia, but in recent years it has gained more notoriety for illegally copied products.
There could be a link between groups involved in producing counterfeit goods sold at Rong Kluea and those involved in the lucrative smuggling of phayung (Siamese rosewood) from Thailand, Pol Lt Gen Suwira added.
The raids angered Cambodian vendors, who complained to the authorities on Saturday that they should have been given more time to clear fake products from their shops. In February violent clashes between vendors and law enforcement officers resulted in 12 injuries.
Officials believe local influential figures are behind the trade in fake goods. Officers who conducted the raids in February did not inform local police in advance, noting that whenever they did so in the past, suspects always managed to vanish before the law arrived.
The governor warned all vendors in February that raids would continue until all knock-off brand-name goods were completely wiped out from the market by the end of April. The government says its "Sa Kaeo model", if it succeeds, will be expanded to other fake-goods centres around the country.
So far there have been no reports of arrests.