Officials from Muang Phuket District Office raided the Dek Cha Phuket grocery store on Yaowarat Rd in Phuket Town at about 10:30pm yesterday (Feb 21).
Assisting in the raid were personnel from Territorial Defense Volunteers (OrSor) along with officers from Phuket City Police.
The officers first arrested “Mr Yossiri” (family name withheld), 24, on the street in front of the shop after he was found carrying 12 e-cigarettes.
Yossiri said he had just bought the e-cigarettes from the Dek Cha Phuket shop, officers noted.
Regardless, he was taken to Phuket City Police Station and charged under the Customs Act B.E. 2560 with trading and distributing an illegally imported taxable good.
Yossiri apparently confessed to the charge, officials reported.
Minutes later, officers arrested Mr Tewan, 20, and Mr Panuwat, 23, (family names withheld).
Officers found that the shop had foreign cigarettes for sale that were not marked with the stamp confirming the import duty had been paid on them.
The officers seized 2,400 packs of cigarettes, 90 e-cigarettes, 107 e-cigarette coils, 87 e-cigarette nozzles and 69 packs of e-cigarette liquids contaniing a total volume of 3.74 litres.
The search of the store also found 13 bottles of imported alcoholic beverages (13 lires in total) also not bearing the Thai import duty stamp, officers reported.
B2,000 cash was also seized on the premises.
Tewan and Mr Panuwat were also taken to Phuket City Police Station, where they reportedly confessed to a slew of charges against them related to the illegal sale of e-cigarettes, and untaxed foreign cigarettes and alcohol.
Officials reported that the raid and arrests followed complaints from concerned parents who had previously complained to the Phuket Governor’s Office.
The parents explained that the shop was selling cigarettes to students. The shop had been inspected after a previous complaint had been filed, but the shop just temporarily stopped selling cigarettes to students and resumed the practice after the inspection had passed.
Kamala Pete | 24 February 2023 - 11:51:05