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Phuket police struggle to cope with large quantities of copy goods

Phuket Pirate Copy Industry 'Faces Destruction'

Friday, May 27, 2011
PHUKET: Tourists visiting Phuket will soon no longer be able to buy cheap pirate goods as souvenirs, Phuket and Bangkok officials confirmed yesterday.

As police continued to make raids on shops and warehouses along Phuket's popular west coast, Phuket Police Commander Major General Pekad Tantipong yesterday confirmed that the order had come from top police in Bangkok to close down Phuket's copy industry.

''We have been told that Phuket's days as a so-called 'red zone' for pirate goods must be brought to an end,'' Major General Pekad said. He was speaking as officers raided shops in Phuket's Karon beach after a major raid on a large Patong warehouse the previous day.

The eradication of copy goods on Phuket may take some time, Major General Pekad admitted.

''Many of the major outlets have shops at the front with large warehouses hidden in behind them,'' he said as officers bundled piles of brand-name goods into black bags that were to be taken to Phuket's police headquarters in Phuket City.

''We are aiming to have a big bonfire in July,'' the major general said. ''By then, we should have the illegal businesses in Kata and Karon under control.

''Patong is larger in scale, so that might take a little longer to bring to an end.''

A serious clamp by Phuket police would close an era when tourists visiting Phuket often took home pirated clothing, branded bags and goods of all kinds, ranging from fake watches to music and movies.

A couple of young blonde tourists even wandered into a Patong store on Wednesday looking for souvenir sunglasses at the moment when a tearful manager was preventing officers from opening the door to a ''treasure trove'' pirate warehouse.

In the past, crackdowns have been fleeting. But it does appear as though Thailand is now reacting to international censure over continuing tolerance of imitation goods at a time when countries in Europe and the US are committed to protecting copyright.

The new level of resolve could mean that Thailand wants to be seen as a genuine member of the international copyright community.

Thailand's Director-General of Intellectual Property, Pajimachima Thanasanti, visited Phuket and joined police in raids on Wednesday and Thursday. She said the clamp would also extend to fake medicines and electrical goods, which endangered the health of buyers.

Apprehended copy vendors have often claimed in the past that they pay authorities to protect them from arrest. Two major investigations into corruption on Phuket are currently underway.
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Comments

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It might be notorious but a much bigger problem than this are the tuk tuks, jet skies and drug dealers offering their merchandise in the streets. Get rid of them now.

Quite a few tourists chose Thailand as destination because they WANT to buy copies, as originals more than often have just ridiculous prices...I know...it's illegal but the truth

Posted by Resident on May 27, 2011 08:05

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Oh well, I'm off to Bali

Posted by Pirate Pete on May 27, 2011 10:39

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I agree with Resident, the tuk tuk mafia is a real pain. Unless you are lucky enough to find a driver who isn't part of the mafia you're in to pay exhorbitant prices. What happened to free enterprise. Pity the poor driver who isn't a member and gets caught picking up passengers around the mafia stronghold, they have spies everywhere and those drivers trying to make an honest living don't stand a chance.

Posted by Lynno on May 27, 2011 14:40

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i know its not right, but its part of the attraction of thailand to be able to buy the cheap copied stuff.. its a bit daft really phuket is dead as a dodo at them min there's no tourists hardly.

Posted by poppop on May 27, 2011 16:46

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It's truly amazing what can happen on this small island when BK bangs it's foot down hard, all the local police and government officials sort out problems that have been in their face for years and years .The thing is, will they be so forceful on corruption, jet skis and tuk-tuks.

Posted by Scunner on May 27, 2011 23:54

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As posters here and a lot of tourists say; start with the real problems in Phuket: tuk-tuks, jet skies, drugs, time share touts, price level +++

The copies are clearly high on the tourist shopping list, if these items are not available Phuket will be regarded an even more expensive place to visit.

Transportation is priced similar to western countries or even higher than many. In London it's cheaper to have a short trip than in Phuket. Food and drink prices are the highest in all of Thailand and compared to the competition, families will think twice about visiting Phuket.

I will for sure consider to go elsewhere in the future, and I've actually stayed in Phuket for 10 weeks the last 12 months.

I'm getting tired of the extortionate prices and falling service level, it's too bad that the corruption and mafia methods ruin the view people used to have on Phuket as a paradise destination.

I'll be back in three weeks, but a lot of things have to change before I consider going again.

Next time Bali, Malaysia, Vietnam!? Who knows but I will not spend my money in Phuket any more. Too bad, as I know a lot of good people there that deserves better than the ways things are...

Posted by TD on May 28, 2011 04:07

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What I don't understand is that it's the whole of Thailand that sells this stuff. So why is it only Phuket that you hear about? If this is the case I will be off to Vietnam or somewhere else as well. If they do manage to stop it in Phuket, what will happen to the stall holders?

Posted by Janet on May 28, 2011 09:52


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