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Thai Authorities Bust 18 Million Baht Vietnamese Counterfeit Powdered Milk Operation

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Counterfeit powdered milk and a range of other food supplement products smuggled from Vietnam were unveiled by consumer protection police during a media briefing on Thursday. (Photo supplied/Wassayos Ngamkham).

In a significant bust, consumer protection police have seized counterfeit powdered milk products valued at 18 million baht, smuggled from Vietnam. The raid on a warehouse in Samut Prakan also resulted in the arrest of six migrant workers. Officers from the Consumer Protection Police Division (CPPD) and officials from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confiscated 41 items of evidence, including nearly 20,000 cans of powdered milk and numerous other supplement products, according to Pol Maj Gen Witthaya Sriprasertparb, CPPD commander.

The crackdown follows an FDA investigation that discovered a website making dubious claims about powdered milk products, purporting exaggerated benefits and falsely claiming certification by the FDA in the US. These ads suggested the products were No. 1 best sellers in New Zealand and were widely shared across various social media platforms.

Through meticulous detective work, police traced the products to a warehouse in Phra Pradaeng, where they found an astonishing haul: 12,625 cans of powdered milk from eight different brands, 1,776 children’s supplement products, 3,660 items of unregistered medicines, and 95 vitamin products. Six migrant workers from Laos and Myanmar were caught red-handed, packing these illicit items. They were promptly arrested and charged with selling unregistered products and working without official permits.

Pol Col Veeraphong Khlaithong, superintendent of CPPD sub-division 4, uncovered more layers to this crafty operation. He revealed that Vietnamese nationals orchestrated the smuggling operation, renting buildings to stash these counterfeit goods before selling them online. “Interested customers are prompted to fill in their details on the website,” he explained. Sales representatives then contacted potential buyers over the phone, embellishing the benefits of the products to entice them to purchase more.

The scam didn’t stop there. Two to three weeks after the initial purchase, sales staff followed up with buyers to inquire about their experience and pitch additional products. Remarkably, each month saw between 3,000 to 6,000 purchase orders.

The powder milk and supplements were sold at a price range of 1,090 to 1,190 baht per can. The Vietnamese masterminds behind the operation clandestinely visited Thailand monthly to monitor their business and stay vigilant about potential crackdowns. These smugglers were keenly aware of the Thai authorities’ efforts to weed out non-FDA-certified milk products. If they sensed upcoming inspections, they would swiftly move their stash to different locations to evade capture.


  1. Jon Wilson June 13, 2024

    This is so outrageous! I can’t believe people would counterfeit something as essential as powdered milk for kids.

    • Sara June 13, 2024

      It’s really sickening. Just think of how many families might have trusted these fake products for their children.

      • Jon Wilson June 13, 2024

        Exactly, it’s just criminal. They’re playing with the health of innocent kids!

      • NerdyNerd June 13, 2024

        Well, it’s a result of people looking to make easy money. This is what happens when there’s too much trust in online products.

  2. Grower134 June 13, 2024

    To play devil’s advocate here, isn’t it a failure of the Thai authorities for not catching them sooner?

    • Mike June 13, 2024

      Kind of agree, but you have to realize these operations are designed to be sneaky and hard to detect.

      • Grower134 June 13, 2024

        I get that, but 18 million baht worth of products is a huge amount. Was no one paying attention?

    • Janet H June 13, 2024

      I think the authorities did a good job considering how intricate the operation was. They can’t be everywhere all the time.

  3. Anna June 13, 2024

    How could people even fall for such scams? Don’t they check the sources before buying, especially for something as important as powdered milk?

    • Peter June 13, 2024

      If the fake websites look genuine and they market it well, anyone can fall for it.

      • Anna June 13, 2024

        I understand that, but still, people need to be more vigilant.

    • EducatedOpinion June 13, 2024

      Not everyone has the resources or knowledge to verify these things. It’s unfair to blame the victims.

  4. Lily Lovegood June 13, 2024

    Think about the migrant workers. They were probably just trying to make a living. The real criminals are the people orchestrating this from Vietnam.

    • RealDeal June 13, 2024

      True, but the workers still knew what they were doing was illegal.

      • Lily Lovegood June 13, 2024

        Maybe, but desperation can make people do things they wouldn’t normally do.

  5. Chris77 June 13, 2024

    The real issue here is the lack of stringent regulations on international trade. More needs to be done globally to track these dangerous products.

    • DipS June 13, 2024

      Easier said than done. International regulations take years to implement and often face a lot of resistance.

  6. DJ June 13, 2024

    Glad they caught these people. Counterfeiting products meant for children is just despicable.

  7. NinaT June 13, 2024

    The focus should also be on educating consumers. Awareness can prevent so many falling victim to these scams.

  8. JamesP June 13, 2024

    How come nothing is being done about the online platforms hosting these fraudulent websites? Shouldn’t they be held accountable too?

    • Tom June 13, 2024

      Totally agree! These platforms have a responsibility to monitor the products being sold through their sites.

      • JamesP June 13, 2024

        Think about the damage control if they took their role seriously.

  9. Larry Davis June 13, 2024

    This highlights the importance of buying from reputable sources. You get what you pay for!

    • Sheila June 13, 2024

      Sometimes people don’t have the option to buy from reputable sources. Poverty can force their hand.

      • Larry Davis June 13, 2024

        True, but that’s where government interventions and safety nets should come in.

  10. Kat June 13, 2024

    It’s incredible how coordinated criminal enterprises can be. This was an entire operation with follow-ups and monitoring. Crazy!

  11. Tim74 June 13, 2024

    The government should provide more support for breastfeeding. It’s the safest option for babies.

    • Mary June 13, 2024

      Not everyone can breastfeed, Tim. That’s a very narrow perspective.

      • Tim74 June 13, 2024

        I get that. But for those who can, it’s definitely better.

  12. Emily June 13, 2024

    I still can’t wrap my head around how such huge quantities were smuggled across borders without getting noticed.

    • Sam June 13, 2024

      Maybe there’s corruption or lapses at the borders? It happens more often than we think.

      • Emily June 13, 2024

        If that’s true, then it’s really concerning. We need more accountability.

  13. ScienceDad June 13, 2024

    This whole ordeal makes a strong case for better science education. People should know how to check for counterfeit products.

    • Lisa June 13, 2024

      It’s easier said than done. Sometimes even experts get fooled by well-made counterfeits.

  14. CynicalFly June 13, 2024

    Just another day in the world of capitalism. As long as there’s profit to be made, this won’t be the last scam operation we see.

  15. KrisL June 13, 2024

    The authorities should track and arrest the masterminds, not just the small-time workers. They need to go for the head of the snake!

    • Terry June 13, 2024

      True, but those masterminds are likely far away and protected. It’s not easy to get them.

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