Thai customs to burn more than 600,000 pirated goods worth THB39 million

Screenshot: Khaosod TV

The Thai Customs Department hosted one of its semi-regular “destruction ceremonies” yesterday in which 604,456 confiscated pirated items, worth more than THB39 million (about US$1 million), were trucked out to be disposed of in what we’ve been assured is environmentally friendly fashion.

Given our recent air-quality situation, we can all be happy they’re not destroying them in the classic fashion, which has routinely involved giant, camera-friendly bonfires held in the open.

At a 2pm press conference, Customs spokesperson and consultat Chaiyut Khamkhun explained that the confiscated knock-offs of brand name bags, shoes, soccer balls and tumblers would be sent to be destroyed in Saraburi province, reported Khaosod.   

The destruction will be handled by INSEE Ecocycle, a waste management services solution company, while Wongpanit Suvarnabhumi Recycle Station Co., Ltd. will handle the disposal of the remains.

Given that the ceremony was held just days after Pollution Control Department (PCD) asked citizens to refrain from burning anything in the open amid our battle with air pollution, Coconuts Bangkok contacted the waste management company to find out if their methods aligned with that concern.

An INSEE Recycle customer service representative we spoke to said that all the burning is done with an indoor mortar oven, which they claim is safe and won’t contribute to air pollution.

As for the Customs Department, the show of destroying the collected knock-offs is a necessary one for their reputation, Chaiyut explained at the ceremony.

“Many people have raises concerns about whether pirated goods are sent back to be sold in the market after we confiscate it. So we earn your confidence that this isn’t true… once confiscated, pirated goods will never again be sold.”

Meanwhile, Thada Choomchaiyo, director of the kingdom’s Investigation and Suppression Division said the purpose of the ceremony is to publicly show the measures the government is willing to take to prevent intellectual property violations and create awareness of the enormous economic damage it causes, reported Bangkok Biz News.

The government officials credit Thailand’s 2017 removal from the US Priority Watch List (PWL) for intellectual property policies as an indication of the success of the crackdown on counterfeit goods.

While the upcoming counterfeit conflagration is scheduled to take place in an ostensibly modern, indoor facility, not all such crackdowns have been handled in environmentally friendly fashion.
In November, Customs made a spectacle by burning about THB7.6 million (about US$200,000) worth of pirated goods out in the open in Chiang Rai province, reported Manager.

Officials appeared amused when filmed throwing products in an open-air bonfire.Screenshot: Khaosod TV
Officials throwing products in an open-air bonfire. Screenshot: Khaosod TV

Officials appeared amused when filmed throwing products in an open-air bonfire.

We can’t help but wonder how much impact stunts like this have in a country where knock-off goods are still so easily available.

What do you think Coconauts? Do knock-off bonfires have any value or is it just so much … hot air? Let us know at @CoconutsBangkok.

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