The man, identified by police as Khamphi Khamperayannon, was arrested by a joint team consisting of officers from the Consumer Protection Police Division and Crime Suppression Division’s Subdivision 1, following an order issued by Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) commissioner Pol Lt Gen Jirabhop Bhuridej, reports the Bangkok Post.
The suspect was wanted over his ties to a rubber glove factory in Sa Kaeo’s Watthana Nakhon district, which turned out to be non-existent, police said.
Police said a firm based in the United States entered into an agreement with Khamphi’s company to purchase two million boxes of powder-free nitrile gloves.
The firm found Khamphi’s company through a Chinese broker, who believed the company to be legitimate after reviewing its website.
The firm entered into a deal to buy 2 million boxes of rubber gloves for US$15.5mn, which was to be paid in 12 monthly instalments, by agreeing to put down a deposit of US$6.2 million (B184mn).
When the firm demanded to inspect the factory, Khamphi refused, citing the pandemic, police said.
On June 14, the firm sent its representative to inspect an address in Sa Kaeo where Khamphi said his factory was, but there was no factory there, police said.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce Jurin Laksanawisit said visible progress has been made by authorities probing the export of used medical gloves to the United States, with the public prosecutor having delivered a prosecution order on Paddy The Room Trading Co Ltd and the Central Intellectual Property and International Trade Court handing down four-year sentences to the culprit, reports state news agency NNT.
Progress was being made on two fronts, Mr Jurin said. On the part of Paddy The Room Trading Co Ltd, a prosecution order has already been given and the intellectual property court has handed down a 4-year sentence to the offender, without a possibility of a suspended sentence.
An arrest warrant has also been issued for the Hong Kong person who owned the company, Mr jurni added.
On the part of Sufficiency Economy City Co Ltd, the owner of the SkyMed trademark of medical gloves, Mr Jurin said arrest warrants have now been issued and the accused were being summoned
He added that police representatives have promised to accelerate proceedings and yield progress in the case within 30 days.
Mr Jurin added that the Thai Rubber Gloves Exporters Association has confirmed that the scandal was not affecting glove exports and no order cancellations have been made by clients.
Regarding the Paddy the Room Trading case, Prayuth Petchkhun, deputy spokesman of the Attorney-General (OAG) said on Tuesday that Phiphatphon Homchanya, an employee of Paddy the Room Trading, was at first given eight years in a ruling handed down by the Central Intellectual Property and International Trade Court last Wednesday.
The sentence was commuted to four years because the accused confessed, Mr Prayuth said, the Bangkok Post. noted in a separate report.
The other two parties named as suspects were Paddy the Room Trading and Luk Fei Yang Yang, a Chinese executive of the company, said Mr Prayuth.
The three faced multiple charges for colluding to produce medical supplies without permission and using trademarks belonging to other companies with intent to deceive customers, he said. Luk Fei Yang Yang, meanwhile, has since gone on the run. Police are still trying to track him down, said Mr Prayuth.
Luk Fei Yang Yang was first detained when the police raided the company’s factory in Pathum Thani’s Lam Luk Ka district on Dec 24, said a source.
At that time, machines worth about 300 million baht were seized for inspection, said the source.
The machines were believed to have been used to produce counterfeit medical supplies including medical gloves, said the source, adding that a large number of medical glove packages with the trademark SkyMed on them were also found at the scene.
Sufficiency Economy City, which owns the trademark, subsequently lodged a complaint with the police insisting it had nothing to do with Paddy the Room Trading or the company’s unlawful use of the SkyMed trademark, said the source.
A months-long CNN investigation found that tens of millions of counterfeit and second-hand nitrile gloves have reached the United States, according to import records and distributors who bought the gloves ‒ and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Some of the gloves had been washed, others still had marks and even bloodstains still on them. Some had dates from two years ago written on them with markers.
In February and March this year one US company warned two federal agencies ‒ Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration ‒ that it had received shipments filled with substandard and visibly soiled gloves from one company in Thailand, according to the in-depth report by CNN.
The Thai company managed to ship millions more gloves in the following months, the report said.