May 12, 2018 – Songkhla, Thailand
Following a prolonged investigation, soldiers, police, and local officials raided a two-story townhouse in Hat Yai, a municipality know as a shopping destination. The busy commercial sectors of Hat Yai are interspersed with middle and middle-class housing developments and units. The Ratdamari Road raid was conducted on a two-story building in search of counterfeit whisky.
Chan Sion Heng, a 37-year-old Malaysian national was taken into custody. Along with Mr. Heng, the raiding party seized 100 bottles of fake scotch, 30 empty bottles, fake tax stamps, counterfeit labels and purchase orders for foreign alcohol.
The suspect was catering to the rising middle class in Hat Yai, who consider the ability to buy name brand foreign liquor as a status symbol. Mr. Heng was counterfeiting the popular brands, Johnnie Walker Black Label, Johnnie Walker Red Label, and Chivas Regal.
During interrogation Mr. Heng admitted that he has been making and selling fake scotch for approximately 5 years. He told authorities that he would blend authentic whisky with cheaper knockoffs, rebottle it in authentic bottles and apply fake tax stamps and counterfeit labels.
In displaying the haul, police noted that the suspect has been in jail previously for the same type of crime, most recently released in 2016. Police also stated that they will continue the investigation to find the retail outlets that were purchasing the fake scotch.
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