Thai cops seize fake sunglasses in raids, arrest 2 Chinese suspects

BANGKOK (AFP) - Thai police seized nearly one million pairs of fake designer sunglasses in a series of raids against a counterfeiting gang in which two Chinese nationals were arrested, investigators said Thursday (March 3).

The two suspects, a man and a woman, were detained at a warehouse where much of the huge contraband cache was uncovered in Bangkok's bustling Chinatown district, Thailand's Department of Special Investigation (DSI) said in a statement.

Ray-Ban, Oakley, Louis Vuitton and Dior were among the labels that the gang had faked with the haul worth more than 130 million baht (S$5 million) if sold as genuine versions, the statement said.

A total of 895,897 pairs of sunglasses were seized at seven locations across Chinatown.

A DSI investigator told AFP parts for the fake designer goods were manufactured in China but assembled by the gang in Thailand.

Counterfeit goods are ubiquitous in Thailand and sold openly on the streets. Occasional police crackdowns do little to dent the demand for cheap copies of luxury labels.

Thailand has deep cultural and geographical links with China thanks to centuries of migration.

Bangkok's crowded Chinatown district is popular with tourists and locals alike for its heaving alleyway markets stacked with a huge array of goods, many of them manufactured in Chinese factories.