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PostSubject: Foreign customs get tough on Thai fake goods   Thu Jan 15, 2009 4:44 pm

Foreign customs get tough on Thai fake goods

By Petchanet Pratruangkrai

Foreign customs get tough on travellers carrying counterfeit items bought in Thailand
European tourists landing home after holidays in Thailand had better check their luggage carefully from now on: they could be greeted with heavy fines and even jail terms if customs men find counterfeit items.

This is the message of the Intellectual Property Department, which yesterday launched a campaign with Airports of Thailand to raise awareness of the dangers of taking pirated products looted in Thailand to Europe. Thai shoppers were also warned about buying counterfeit items abroad.

Deputy Commerce Minister Alongkorn Ponlaboot said yesterday that the ministry would work to encourage people to use only copyrighted products so as to boost Thailand's image in the international community.

"Counterfeit goods are not only destroying the Kingdom's image and damaging business, but also harming producers, importers and consumers, now that many countries have implemented a law to punish consumers," Alongkorn said.

Suvarnabhumi billboards
As a measure to dissuade both foreign and local shoppers from buying illicit goods and taking them overseas, the department has provided billboards at Suvarnabhumi Airport alerting them to the stiff penalties awaiting them under each country's laws.

For instance, if travellers carry fakes to France, they could be imprisoned and fined up to 300,000 euros (Bt14.1 million). Offenders in Italy will face a maximum ?10,000 fine.

Off the shopping list
The counterfeit products that Thai and foreign shoppers must be cautious about are brandname women's bags and wallets, sunglasses, perfumes, cosmetics, clothes, watches, CD/CVD/DVDs and replica football shirts.

European nations since the beginning of 2006 have stepped up efforts to crack down on counterfeit products that have undermined the luxury goods industry.

Europe's fakers
Checks in France, the homeland of designer brands like Chanel and Louis Vuitton, are said to be strictest, followed by Italy and Germany. In the French resort of Cannes, anyone found buying counterfeit goods is guilty of possession, punishable by a fine of up to ?375,000 and five-year prison term.

- Daily Xpress, Asia News Network

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