After failed raids, police try to ‘educate’ Tukcom vendors to stop selling pirated goods

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About 150 retailers at Tukcom shopping center met with regional police and political leaders hoping to bring an end to rampant sales of pirated goods at the South Pattaya electronics mall.

Royal Thai Police deputy commander Gen. Chalermkiat Sriwornkhan and Chonburi Permanent Secretary Chawalit Saeng-Uthai hosted the June 24 meeting at city hall, called in response to the United States Trade Representative’s December blacklisting of Tukcom and eight other Thai havens for music, movie and software pirates.

Royal Thai Police deputy commander Gen. Chalermkiat Sriwornkhan.Royal Thai Police deputy commander Gen. Chalermkiat Sriwornkhan.

Chalermkiat told the vendors that Tukcom has been listed as a “red zone” by the USTR, along with two in Phuket, two on the Cambodian border and three in Bangkok. The designation damages Thailand’s international reputation and needs to be remedied, he said.

The USTR said in late December that the eight “red zone” markets were selected for inclusion to an already long list of Thai retail outlets both because they exemplified wider concerns about global trademark counterfeiting and or copyright piracy. Their scale and popularity can cause economic harm to the U.S. and other intellectual-property rights holders, the trade representative’s office said.

Chalermkiat said Region 2 police were ordered to crack down on Tukcom following the embarrassing USTR report, but repeated raids have had no effect. Police, thus, are changing tactics and trying to get cooperation from vendors by “educating them on the issue so they are aware of the effect that breaking the law has.”

“If the operators understand and learn of the losses that comes from selling pirated goods and turn to selling real, legal items, it will help change the foreigners’ attitudes about buying counterfeit products,” Chalermkiat said hopefully. “If this is a success, it will definitely help improve the image of Pattaya and bring the country back to the green zone again.”