BANGKOK — A haul of strange looking dolls was shown off by police today as the latest evidence of public obsession over a kind of haunted spirit doll.
Police were dispatched to inspect shops selling Luk Thep in Bangkok’s largest wholesale markets Tuesday, where they confiscated 150 dolls from their sellers for smuggling them into Thailand without paying duties.
Inspired by the latest obsessive trend, police were sent to markets in the Sampeng and Wang Burapa areas, as well as some shops in the capital’s Bang Khae district. The 150 dolls were seized from vendors who failed to show proper tax documents and taken to the police station.
The dolls have street values ranging from 500 baht to 5,000 baht. For the ritual ceremony in which a child’s soul is invited to inhabit the doll as a spiritual vessel, the police assessed another 500 baht value on top of their listed price.
Police from the Economic Crime Suppression Division said the ongoing smuggling of Luk Thep dolls has cost the country more than 100,000 baht.
Luk Thep have become increasingly coveted recently since first being introduced last year as a trendy possession for the superstitious set. Many are believed to be factory-made dolls from China brought to Thailand to undergo the ritual required to be full-fledged Luk Thep.
More inspections and seizures of contraband spirit dolls will be done across metro Bangkok to also make sure they are not used to transport illegal goods, police said.