BANGKOK — Some 90 tons of counterfeit goods illicitly bearing designer names such as Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Chanel and Gucci were destroyed Wednesday in an effort to show Thailand's commitment to observing intellectual property rights.
Deputy Minister of Commerce Alongkorn Ponlabutr launched the attack on more than 600,000 fake and pirated items valued at 2.27 billion baht ($73.6 million), slashing away with a long sword at confiscated T-shirts, and then driving a steamroller over piles of watches and CDs.
A team of workers then joined in the destruction of the bogus goods, ripping with ease through shoes and bags with a machine of steel jaws.
"The objective of this activity is to prevent counterfeit and pirated goods from getting back to the market and to show the government's strong and steadfast commitment toward intellectual property rights protection and enforcement," said Alongkorn.
He said Thailand would like to see the United States remove Thailand from its "Priority Watch List" of countries with serious violations of intellectual property rights.
Fake goods, many from China, are openly for sale throughout Thailand. One Bangkok law firm even maintains a Museum of Counterfeit Goods to exhibit seized items, which include the unlicensed use of trademarks, such as shirts with the logos of popular British football clubs.
Police announced that some 1.8 million fake or pirated goods have been seized so far this year, somewhat off the pace of 5 million seized for the whole of 2009.