New crackdown on intellectual property pirates

New crackdown on intellectual property pirates

Fake designer bags are destroyed by officials at a ceremony held in Pathum Thani on March 31. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Fake designer bags are destroyed by officials at a ceremony held in Pathum Thani on March 31. (Bangkok Post file photo)

Surprise raids, assets seizures and tax audits are among strict new measures planned to shut down the massive market in pirated goods in Thailand.

The plan was drawn up at a meeting of representatives from the Department of Intellectual Property (DIP), Department of Special Investigation (DSI) and Economic Crime Suppression Division (ECSD) last week.

DIP director-general Nuntawan Sakuntanaga said it would be forwarded to a subcommittee on suppression of IP violations chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon for approval.

Under the plan, the DIP and other agencies would make surprise inspections of 11 of the 13 notorious markets named by the office of the United States Trade Representative -- Hat Karon and Hat Patong in Phuket, Pattaya City in Chon Buri, Rong Klua market in Sa Kaeo province, and Pantip Plaza, Khlong Thom, Ban Mor, Mah Boonkrong, Sukhumvit roadside stalls, Patpong, and Chatuchak markets in Bangkok.

The Sukhumvit market in pirated goods had earlier been raided, while the Saphan Lek market had already been closed.

Mrs Nuntawan said the surprise raids on the 11 markets would aim to crack down on major traders of pirated goods.

Violators would not only be charged with breaching the intellectual property rights law but would also be subject to a retroactive tax audit by the Revenue Department. Their assets could also be seized by the Anti-Money Laundering Office.

Foreigners found to be trading in pirated goods would be blacklisted and banned from re-entering the country by the Foreign Affairs Division of the Royal Thai Police.

Mrs Nuntawan said she hoped the United States would upgrade Thailand from being a country on its Priority Watch List because of its persistent efforts to combat intellectual property right violations.

Thailand is also in the process of preparing a road map for the reform of the entire intellectual property rights protection system, she said.

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