A smashing time for pirate-catchers
PHUKET: Officials brought Stanley knives. They brought sledge hammers. But in the end this morning’s job was just too big: twenty-five tonnes of pirated goods to be destroyed.
Friday 1 July 2011, 08:41AM
So they brought in a weapon of mass destruction – a wheel loader to drive over the fakes, and hack at them with its bucket.
The mass destruction, held at the incinerator in Saphan Hin, involved 95,038 fakes: 63,236 seized by the Customs Department, 27,677 by the Phuket Provincial Police and 4,125 by the Department of Special Investigations.
Most of the pirate goods, with an estimated retail value of more than B58 million, were seized in raids in Patong, with other items confiscated in Kata and Karon.
There was a wide selection, including handbags, shoes, sunglasses, watches, CDs and DVDs, all seized between January and May this year.
Asked why the fakes were not handed out to needy people rather than destroyed, Pajchima Thanasanti, Director-General of the Bangkok-based Department of Intellectual Property, said “These products are illegal. They should not be distributed to anyone.”
At the smash-fest it was announced that the next hotbed of piracy to be targeted will be Ao Nang, already designated a “pirated products red zone”. Part of this action will involve a campaign to educate tourists that buying fakes is naughty.
Local people who came to watch today’s demonstration waited until the wheel loader had finished and then rummaged in the wreckage, picking up and pocketing anything that had not been smashed or ripped.
The philosophy of “waste not, want not” it seems, still trumps the philosophy of intellectual property rights.