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Women Allege Extortion By Copyright Police in Northeastern Thailand

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Meena Sapsarp, 25, and Pitchaya Kaesungnoen, 19, on Wednesday filed their extortion allegation with police at Muang station on Wednesday.

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Two women have come forward and told police they were also extorted by copyright police in northeastern Thailand. The women allege the same copyright police who entrapped a 15 year-old girl girl into making krathongs with copyright cartoon characters.

Thailand’s Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin has ordered assistance to the schoolgirl after she fined for copyright violation. A TV report identified the  “agent” who led police to the young girl as a motorcycle driver.

Meena Sapsarp, 25, and Pitchaya Kaesungnoen, 19, on Wednesday filed their extortion allegation with police at Muang station on Wednesday.

Ms Meena said she was arrested on Oct 31 for making Krathongs with famous cartoon characters.  She told police the man claiming to be a copyright policeman imposed a fine of 70,000 baht on her.  After negotiations, she paid a fine of 30,000 baht – which she had to borrow from a neighbor.

Same copyright police who arrested a 15-year-old girl

Ms Pitchaya said she was caught on July 13 in Nakhon Ratchasima for selling pirated Yeti coolers. The officers demanded she pay a fine of 30,000 baht. After negotiations, she paid 10,000 baht.

The two women said those who led police to arrest them were the same copyright police who arrested a 15-year-old girl. The school girls case which grabbed news headlines on Tuesday.

The girl, identified only as “Orn’’, was arrested and fined 5,000 baht for making krathong baskets featuring cartoon characters. They were ordered online as part of a police “sting”operation.

She was making Krathongs for this weekend’s Loi Krathong Festival, to raise money to help with her schooling.

However, one customer insisted on having cartoon characters on the Krathongs. When she delivered 30 of them at a local department store last Friday she was arrested. It turned out the order was placed by copyright police.

The agent demanded she pay a fine of 50,000 baht. Her grandfather later negotiated the fine down to 5,000 baht. Media reported the girl priced her Krathongs at 17 baht apiece.

The 15 year-old girl’s arrest sparked a public outcry

T.A.C Consumer Plc, the representative of copyright holder San-X of Japan, later issued a statement saying the company had not assigned anyone to the operation that led to the arrest of the girl.

Wichian Chaisorn, director of the Nakhon Ratchasima justice office, on Tuesday night led officials to meet the girl and her parents at their house in tambon Nong Khai Nam of Muang district.

Mr Wichian said the justice minister expressed his concern over the legal action faced by the girl for copy right violation and ordered him to look into it and report it back to him.

The ministry has a centre to provide assistance and legal advice to people who fight cases brought against them. The centre also coordinates with lawyers to provide legal assistance to needy people, Mr Wichian said.

The girl’s father, factory worker Thawatchai Polhaeng, said they were worried about her.

He was also worried about the safety of his family

If any agencies offered to help his family file a police complaint, he would cooperate fully. He did not want the people involved in the arrest of his daughter to extort money from more people, Mr Thawatchai said.

Amarin TV reported that the man who led police to arrest the 15-year-old girl was a motorcycle taxi driver.

TV reporters went to his house in Nakhon Ratchasima, but he was not there.

Neighbors identified him only as “Nan”saying also that his wife was a street vendor.

Source: The Bangkok Post