On 3 September 2018, a Destruction Ceremony was held by the Department of Intellectual Property at the Army Air Defense Command at Don Mueang, Bangkok. The Ceremony was presided over by the Deputy Prime Minister, General Prawit Wongsuwan. Baker McKenzie Bangkok attended the ceremony on behalf of various clients, including world leading cosmetics companies, animation and merchandising companies, automotive parts manufacturers, and tech companies, among others. Products destroyed in this ceremony were those seized from closed cases originating at various Customs ports, with the Royal Thai Police (including Metropolitan Police and those from the Economic Crime Division (ECD)), and with the Department of Special Investigation (DSI).
In total, 2,101,347 counterfeit products were destroyed (including apparel, leatherwear, footwear, watches, mobile phones, cosmetics, etc.). Of those, 1,732,965 items had been seized by the Customs Department, 187,332 items by the Royal Thai Police, and 181,050 by the DSI). The total value of such items was approximately THB 1.3 billion (USD 40 million). The counterfeits were strictly secured and guarded by the officials, first during transport from various warehouses to the Destruction Ceremony where they were shredded and crushed, then during transfer from the Ceremony site to an incinerator facility located in Samut Prakan Province. While the Thai government absorbed all costs related to the Ceremony, it was organized in a fully transparent manner, with full access and participation by media and IP right owners.
As evidenced by many recent initiatives, the Thai government has taken an increasingly strong position against infringement, both to establish Thailand as a market where intellectual property rights are respected and enforced and to ensure that counterfeit goods of poor quality – particularly food, cosmetics, and electronic products – cannot impact the health or safety of local consumers. By permanently destroying counterfeit goods, the government can ensure such goods cannot re-enter the market. Doing so in such a public manner should inspire current and would-be infringers to rethink their activities. Moreover, IP right owners and their agents should feel encouraged to cooperate with government and police officials in their efforts to continue seizing and destroying counterfeit goods and otherwise cracking down on infringement in Thailand.