Social media users are pressuring Pattaya police to crack down on street vendors selling fake watches and other counterfeit items after a pair of peddlers started a brawl with U.S. Navy servicemen.
Police on Feb. 28 did arrest six watch peddlers and confiscated 40 bogus brand-name timepieces. Among those taken into custody was Uthit Suthok, 45, and his brother, who confessed to being the ones involved in the fracas outside a Beach Road bar four days earlier.
Both were fined 5,000 baht each for brawling and were charged with selling counterfeit goods, which carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a 2,000-baht fine. Six U.S. sailors were fined 1,000 baht each for fighting.
Two videos of the incident at the Red Cat Bar went viral on the internet, prompting calls for a crackdown on fake-goods sellers, who are a perennial nuisance to open-air bar and restaurant customers, strolling tourists and anyone else within haggling distance.
Uthit claimed the fight began when one of the sailors not only refused to buy one of his pieces of fine jewelry, but threw it on the ground and stomped on it. When the hawker protested, the sailor snacked him in the head, Uthit claimed.
The security-camera footage from the bar shows nothing of the sort. Instead it shows the Thai sellers starting the fight after being told, likely in colorful language, to go away. The fight spilled into the street where several other Thai men joined in on pummeling one of the sailors.