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15-Year-old Girl Arrested After Being Lured by Police to Make Krathongs

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The girl, who gave her name as “Orm”, said that her family was shocked by the police sting operation in Nakhon Ratchasima.

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PHOTO: A 15-year-old girl was arrested after being lured by police into making Krathongs with copyright Cartoon

A 15-year-old girl in northeastern Thailand was arrested and fined 5,000 baht after making krathongs featuring cartoon characters. The krathongs were allegedly ordered by undercover copyright police.

The girl, who gave her name as “Orm”, said that her family was shocked by the police sting operation in Nakhon Ratchasima.

Orm had intended to produce flower-patterned Krathongs to raise some money to help with her schooling. She had offered the service via Facebook.

She had many customers, none of whom ordered a particular pattern for the Krathongs. And then one customer specifically ordered cartoon characters on the floats.

Copyright Police Ambush the Teenager

When she delivered them at a local department store, it turned out the order was placed by copyright police. Who were waiting in ambush for her.

“After receiving the order, I made krathong baskets from 8am to 1.30am, only to be arrested,” Orm said.

“Normally I do not make any basket with a copyrighted character. This customer stressed they wanted copyrighted characters. After being arrested I cried all night because I have never faced such legal action before.

“I want to know why they had to do this to me,” the young teenager said.

She said she made her Krathongs to help out her family because her father was a poor factory worker.

Her father, Thawatchai Polhaeng, said the undercover agent ordered 136 Krathongs with copyright cartoon characters. She only delivered 30 baskets. The agents also frightened his daughter and imposed a fine of 50,000 baht.

Her grandfather was a former policeman and later managed to negotiate the fine down to 5,000 baht, he said.

Pol Col Kachen Setaputta, chief of Muang Nakhon Ratchasima police station, confirmed the incident occurred. He said that copyright agents and police were involved in the sting operation.

Media reported the girl priced her Krathongs at 17 baht apiece.

T.A.C Consumer Plc, a copyright representative of San-X in Japan, later issued a statement insisting the company had not assigned any party to carry out the sting operation, which led to the arrest of the teen.

Saying it had assigned a lawyer to look into the case to ensure justice for all sides. This is according to the statement published on the company’s website yesterday.

San-X is a Japanese stationery company known for creating and marketing cute characters such as; Tarepanda, Rilakkuma, Sumikko Gurashi, and Kogepan.

Lawyer Atchariya Ruangrattanaphong, president of the Help Crime Victim Club, posted on the club’s Facebook saying the Nakhon Ratchasima teen had been extorted and the club would help her.

The lawyer also told the Bangkok Post that it was illegitimate to lure someone into violating a copyright to get him or her prosecuted.

Wirasak Bunphloeng, vice-president of the Nakhon Ratchasima’s chamber of commerce, said although the chamber doesn’t support copyright violation, it would provide legal assistance and seek help from the Lawyers Council of Thailand.

What is Loy Krathong?

Krathong is a Thai term which refers to a piece of banana trunk decorated with flowers, banana leaves, candle and incense sticks. The word Loy means to float in the Thai language. When put together,  those two terms simply mean floating banana trunk festival. Modern krathongs are also mostly made out of bread.

Bread Krathongs are more environmentally friendly, they are biodegradable and eaten by fish.