Fake Luxury Watch Auction Case: Customs Files a Civil Lawsuit

“This was the first such mistake in the history of the Customs Department,” Pachara Anantasilp, the Director General of Customs, announced on August 11 the closure of the case involving the auctioning of counterfeit luxury watches by Customs.

He considered it a costly lesson and reiterated the commitment to prevent a recurrence. The Customs Department also proceeded to file a civil lawsuit against the rights holder’s representative company. The case was then referred to the prosecutor’s office.

The case stems from a luxury watch auction held by Customs from July 5 to 7, 2023. The auction featured 14 watches that had been seized from a prestigious department store in Pathum Wan district on July 24, 2022.

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Pachara Anantasilp, the Director General of Customs held a press conference on August 11, 2023.

These watches had been certified as genuine by a local representative of the rights holder in Thailand, along with documentation confirming their authenticity and copyright compliance. The watches were securely stored in a dedicated room and closely monitored.


The auction took place from July 5 to 7, 2023, during which winning bidders paid full price and collected 2 out of the 13 watches.

On July 10, 2023, three bidders reported that the watches they had purchased were counterfeits and demanded that they be returned. Customs coordinated with the rights holder’s representative to inspect and verify the watches in question.

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The luxurious watches turned out to be fake.

On the day in question, the rights holder’s representative claimed to have communicated verbally with Customs officials and stated that the said watches were counterfeits. This prompted the Customs to cancel the sale of the luxury watches on the market and they immediately refunded all bidders the full amount paid or returned the deposit.

Following this, the Customs Department formed a committee to investigate the facts. As a result, the officers were disciplined with verbal warnings. In cases where the representative notified the department over the phone about the counterfeit watches but no documentation was provided.

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Pachara Anantasilp showed the letter of the representative of the rights holder, a Hong Kong- based company, apologized to the Customs.

On August 1, the representative of the rights holder, a Hong Kong- based company, apologized for the above incident and conducted an internal investigation to verify its truthfulness. The representative confirmed that the Thai branch of the company has taken steps to review the error and submitted a plan to improve the review process.


In future auctions, there will be clearer guidelines and stricter controls. Participants will be given a 30-day window to review assets with the assistance of experts. Once the auction is over, Customs will take no further responsibility.


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