The King of Thailand
is Bhumibol Adulyadej who has been reigning since
9th June 1946.
Thailand is a constitutional
monarchy with two legislative houses : the Chamber
of Deputies made up of 393 members who are elected
by general election for a four year term of office,
and the Senate where the members are designated by
the government (their number must not exceed
two-thirds of the Assembly).
The Prime Minister, Mr
Thaksin Sinawatra (since 6th January 2001), rules
the country under the King's authority.
The army has a very strong influence.
The constitution dates from 9th December 1991 and
has been modified twice since then.
Thailand is an independent
country which has never been colonized.
Thailand has a total
surface area of 513,115 square kilometers and lies
in the centre of south east Asia.
It has common boundaries with
Laos (1756 kms) to the north, Myanmar (ex-Burma)
(1800 kms) to the west, Cambodia (803 kms) to the
east and Malasia (506 kms) to the south. Its
south-eastern coast is washed by the Gulf of
Thailand and the south-western by the Sea of
Andaman. (see the map on the Summary
A central plain, the Chao
Phraya fluvial basin, is surrounded by plateaus to
the east and mountains to the north, and is
extended in the south by a long peninsula edged
with beaches and coral islands.
The region next to Myanmar
and Laos is the Golden Triangle, famous (or
infamous) for its opium production.
The capital is Bangkok (Krung
Thep in Thai)
The country is divided up
into 76 provinces.
has been emerging with difficulty from the Asian
crisis of July 1997 which came about from the crash
of the baht, the national currency, but after two
consecutive years of recession it is starting to
recover due to exports taking off again.
economy has a double velocity, with serious
differences in the standard of living. But the risk
of political trouble is fairly low in a country in
which there are no food shortages and which makes a
great display of national unity. The country is one
of the most democratic in the region and the
economic growth potential remains high, even if
production has not yet returned to the level it
enjoyed before the crisis.
is dynamic and turned towards exportation, policies
of diversification have been successful as
manufactured products now represent 80% of the
exports. The excellent external trade performance
has permitted the current balance of payments to
remain with a very comfortable surplus and for the
foreign currency reserves to go over 32 billion
sector needs very in-depth restructuring which will
take a lot of time before it is totally cleaned up.
The banking restructuring has slowed down after two
years of vigorous macro-economic reforms which were
encouraged and supported by the IMF.
At the end of 2000 bad debts represented about a
third of the total. The stock exchange dropped by
40% over the first nine months of the year and the
value of the baht spiralled down again to reach, at
the end of October, its lowest level for two
stabilization procedures concerning private debts
have not yet given any spectacular results :
industrial groups are negotiating revised payment
schemes for their debts, in the hope that the
situation will improve and the banks have managed
to reduce their non-paying loans.
been kept in check and the unemployment figures
have gone down again. Internal demand remains low,
but mainly due to people being cautious rather than
to a real purchasing problem, in a period where the
return to a lasting growth situation is not yet
actually plenty of liquidity, but the financial
structures are reluctant to finance projects which
are often not good quality. Investments are being
re-orientated towards more productive sectors, like
transport : the first part of an elevated railway
in Bangkok was opened at the end of 1999, 4000 kms
of highway are being built as well as new port
equipment in the capital.
foreign investments are continuing at a regular
pace. Modernizing and privatizing the private
sector via foreign partnerships is continuing, with
the priority being given to the sectors of air
transport, electricity and water.
programmed over the last three years following the
crisis are being progressively carried out : the
econonic laws are being rewritten, the judicial
system is being modernized, the central Bank has a
new status to guarantee its independence, the
banking system is being reformed
of the GDP by activity sector :
agriculture : 11.2%
industry : 32.1%
mining : 9%
services : 47.7%
balance of trade
duties remain high on consumer goods. In the latest
recovery plan (10th August 1999) the government
decided to decrease the customs duties on more than
600 products, mainly intermediary goods and
The Board of
Investment launched a vast reform programme in 1997
to make the customs system clearer and faster.
Concerning standards other than tariffs, industrial
products have to have a licence and conform to the
standards of the Thai Industrial Standards
from the United States (12.1%), Japan (22.8%), the
European Union (13.6%), Asia (apart from Japan)
MOCI, Le Monde)
is a well irrigated country with a strong
agricultural production. Agriculture contributes
20% of the country's exports and has actively
participated in its economic recovery. The sales of
rice, sugar, fruit (pineapples) and sea food
(shrimps) have again progressed during
country's main crop, covers 42% of the farmed land.
Thailand is the third biggest producer in the world
per capita and the biggest exporter in the
grown on 8% of the farmed land.
Thailand is the biggest producer of rubber in the
world and at the end of 1999 it caused the break up
of the association of exporting countries (run on
the same lines as the OPEP) which it judged to be
inefficient, and since then has been leading its
own commercial policy on the world
Fishing is an
important sector for Thailand, 3.49 million tons
were fished in 1997 which represents 59 kg per
capita (for comparison in France 14 kg per capita
are fished). Shrimps are the 5th biggest item
in ThailAnd (in millions of tons, head, m3
presently, after Japan and South Korea, the third
biggest Asian exporter of motor vehicles : General
Motors and Ford along with Japanese manufacturers
have installations there.
There is lively competition
with Malasia and Singapore in the electronics
field, but Thailand has managed to attract several
assembly factories. 25% of all sales are in this
Industrial restructuring is
advancing : Thai Petrochemicals were legally
rectified in March 2000. It is the first major Thai
group to be treated in this way, a proof that the
authorities really want to go about reforming the
statistics (mining in millions of tons, gas
in billions of m3)
There is also the
production of precious and semi-precious
rebound of consumerism, linked to the overall
economic situation and the beginning of the
recovery from the crisis makes mass distribution a
strategical sector (Casino, Carrefour and Auchan
are rapidly developing). Household consumption is
progressing by 5.4% on average.
partnership with Italthaï has won a 7.6
billion baht contract to install a national
telecommunication website in optical fibres (10,000
kms) for the public telephone service TOT
(Telephone Organization of Thailand).
main developing sectors are tourism, foodstuffs and
electronics for exportation.
Tourism is booming due to the government's
promotional efforts and to the devaluation of the
baht, there were over 10 million visitors in
More than 350 companies are implanted in Thailand :
Danone, Vittel, Total, Elf, Lafarge, Merlin-guerin,
Michelin, Thompson, Rhône Poulenc, Alcatel,
Bouygues, Accor, Usinor, Casino, Carrefour, Auchan,
are 61,200,000 inhabitants in Thailand and the
population density is 120 inhabitants per square
0 - 14 year olds :
15 - 64 year olds : 68.39%
65 years and over : 5.30%
life expectancy : 72.34 years
The urban population is
Population of working age
(15-65 years) : 41 million, of which 36 million are
GNP per capita : 1,980 dollars (purchasing power
parity : 5,500 dollars)
N° of households with a purchasing power :
+ $ 30 000 per annum : 1,020,000 (7.5%)
+ $ 15 000 per annum : 3,670,000 (27%)
- $ 5 000 per annum : 2,990,000 (22%)
Level of developement
(latest available figures)
Demographic growth 1997-2015
infant mortality (%)
energy consumption per capita TOE ..............
population without drinking water (% pop.) ........
population without sanitary installations (% pop.)
n° of doctors per 1,000 inhabitants
telephone lines per 1,000 inhabitants .......
mobile telephones per 1,000 inhabitants ........
private cars per 1,000 inhabitants ....... 28
n° of computers per 1,000 inhabitants
adult illiteracy (%) ............ 5
secondary schooling/age group (%) .............
graduates/age group (%) ..............
75% of the
population belong to the Thai ethnic group and 14%
(about 6 million) are of Chinese descent (the
emigration started at the end of the 19th
There is a large Chinese-Thai middle class in
Thailand which is perfectly well
In the north
of the country there are still a lot of separate
tribes like the Mons, the Karens, the Kmers and
In the famous Golden Triangle, where opium is
produced, there are still some old Kuomintang
soldiers and Burmese rebels.
The official language
English is often spoken both in social and
In Thai, one same word can have five different
meanings depending on the intonation given.
Buddhism is widely
spread and followed by 94.3% of the population.
The majority of Thai buddhists are Hinayana like in
Sri Lanka, whereas in Tibet they are
There are 4% Muslims, 0.5%
Christians and 1.2% others.
Religion is very important in
the daily life of the Thais and they show it
constantly with religious photos,offerings of
Before opening a new store or
a new office, it has to be blessed by a monk,
Carrefour did this recently.
There is also a widespread
belief in spirits, each family has a small 'spirit
house' to receive the spirits of the family
Take an international adaptor with you. The voltage
is 220 Volts.
1 baht = 0.1642 FF
1 franc = 5.50 baht
US$1 = 37.83 baht
1 euro = 39.95 baht
You can change French francs
everywhere, in the airport or in the hotels.
Exchange bureaus stay open late in the streets.
If you take travellers cheques take rather ones in
Credit cards are accepted nearly everywhere, it is
advisable to insist that the carbon is destroyed in
Bangkok : (9 million
inhabitants) the capital, with traffic which is a
nightmare, wild uncontrolled urbanism and nearly
It stretches down each side of the river over a
total surface of 1,500 sq. kms. 50% of the
population are under 30 years old.
The royal palace, a city within the city, spreads
over 260 hectares behind its walls. Since the
beginning of time the Thai capitals have been built
around this residence, symbolic seat of power of
the 'Lord of Life'.
The administrative services are all in this
To visit : Wat Arun on the Thonburi river, Wat Phra
Kaeo, the temple of the emerald Buddha, Wat Pho,
the temple of the reclining Buddha, Wat Rajabopit,
Wat Traimit and its Buddha made of 5 tons of solid
gold, Wat Saket....
The Vimanmek Palace museum ( the biggest teak
monument in the world).
The museum of the Royal Barges : eight sumptuous
barges, most of which were built in the 18th
century. They are used in royal processions.
The house of Jim Thomson, in the middle of a
tropical garden, housing a collection of porcelaine
and art objects.
The floating markets. Trips on the canals, the
'hang yao' along the klongs. The Thevet flower
market on the banks of the Krung Kasem klong, the
Wat Rachanada Talat market (lucky talismans) on the
other side of the klong.
Mai, the 'Rose of the
North' : centuries old temples, handicraft
: the oldest seaside resort
: beautiful white sandy beaches on the Phang Nga
climate is tropical, hot and pleasant all year
round, even during the rainy season when stormy
rains alternate with sunny periods. The rainy
season is not the same all over the country : on
the Andaman Sea (on the west coast) it is from June
to October and on the Gulf of Thailand it is from
October to January.
pleasant months to visit Thailand are from
mid-November to mid-February, during the cool
The temperatures are high in most of the country
going up to 40° in Bangkok during the day (it
is hotter in the dry areas to the north-east of the
There are dangerous typhoons on the China Sea in
September and October.
The rains only last a few days in the north but on
the west coast they are heavier and can last until
the month of November.
temperatures go from a minimum of 27° in
January to a maximum of 30° in May.
There are a lot of
mosquitoes all over the country.
in the country
opening hours : 8h30 - 18h00
The labour force is flexible and plentiful but
under qualified, one of the government priorities
is training. There are more and more graduates
available who have been trained abroad but the
intermediary levels are very hard to find, having
no adequate qualifications.
People are rapidly hired but just as rapidly
There are now five head-hunting agencies set up in
papers in English publish job offers.
You can look for offers in the separate ad section
of the 'Bangkok Post'.
curriculum vitae has to be written in English with
the titles underlined. All your diplomas must be
mentioned as foreign diplomas are appreciated in
is an important moment when the Thailandese
employer will evaluate your ability to adapt to the
Asian environment and your level of English. Make
sure you are sitting at an equal height to the Thai
recruiting agent during the interview.
vary depending on levels of competence from 50,000
to 100,000 bahts a month on average, an engineer
can earn 150,000, a computer technician 80,000
bahts in Bangkok.
welfare cover depends on the individual enterprise,
it is different from one to another. It could be a
private insurance scheme which is very expensive
and if that should be the case, negotiate it with
If you are employed by a French company, you will
belong to the Caisse des Français à
reforms undertaken by the government are aimed at
opening up the market even more to foreigners (ABL
- the Alien Business Act) and to facilitate their
implantation in the country (laws on acquiring
landed property, real estate and commercial
concerning landed property, real estate and
commercial property came into force on the 22nd,
28th April and 19th May respectively. These reforms
intend to improve the property rights for
foreigners and allow them to efficiently use the
guarantees offered, to facilitate sales and to
attract foreign investors with foreign
limits the participation of foreigners in the
economic domains which are considered to be of
national interest or particularly sensititive : the
press, radio, television, agriculture, forestry,
fishing, real estate and antique dealing.
Foreigners cannot invest either in activitives
concerning national security or activities linked
to culture, traditions, local and artisanal
production or which have an impact on natural
resources and the environment.
1997 the Thailand Central Bank limits credit for
non-residents at 50 million bahts. On the other
hand, commercial and investment transactions have
step for a foreign investor is often to find and
select a partner.
Once the decision to move into the Thai market has
been taken, the foreign investor has to protect his
-How to protect a trademark?
Registering a trade mark is the most direct way to
own and protect the rights to it.
The use of the trade mark in Thailand is not a
prerequisite condition in order to register it. A
trade mark can be registered for products and/or
- How to protect a patent, a design and industrial
model or a registered model?
Unlike trade marks, the ownership of these rights
is only acquired by registering. The registered
model is a new mechanism to protect inventions with
registration conditions which are less strict than
those required for patents or designs and
- How to protect copyrights?
Copyrights are automatically acquired by right of
creation. There are no ways of registering them.
However it is advisable to notify the creation with
the dept of industrial property in Thailand.
New products put on the market are sometimes
counterfeited. To avoid this, Thai laws now permit
action to be taken against counterfeiters. You have
to set up a system to guard the warehouses and
investigate 'in the field' to identify the
Non professional journey
You need to have a passport which is valid for 6
months after your return date.
You need a visa if you intend to stay more than 15
days, you can get this at the Embassy.
A visa will enable you to stay up to 2 months in
It only takes 2 or 3 days to get this visa from the
Embassy in Paris.
When you apply for it you will need two identity
photos, your passport and your return airticket or
a travel certificate made by the travel agency.
for professional reasons:
work in Thailand you need a work permit.
It is the employer who deals with these
A work permit is nominative, both for the person
and the company, and differs depending on the
Thai companies can only employ foreign personnel if
their Thai effective is 7 times superior.
Also the number of work permits a company can have
depends on the size of the company's capital, a
company with a capital of 50 million bahts has a
right to 50 work permits.
are no obligatory vaccins for visiting the country
but if you are staying a long time it is advisable
to be vaccinated against rabies, as well as having
your polio, tetanos etc up to date, and get a
hepatitis B shot. There is a risk of malaria,
particularly in the country side and in the north
of the country, less in the main towns. The
mosquitoes are highly resistant to Nivaquine, get
advice from your doctor and tell him the zone you
Take a small
first aid box with you and any pills that you take
on a regular basis. Although hygiene conditions are
extremely good, it is better to drink bottled water
and to have an insurance which covers repatriation
in case of a serious illness or accident.
France and Thai Airways International have daily
flights to Bangkok from Paris (for about 4500 FF).
AOM and Corsair also have flights once a week.
There are plenty of other flights with other
airlines going from or via other European
Paris - Bangkok lasts 11 hours.
by plane : most of the internal flights are
done by Thai Airways, Bangkok Airways also covers
some of the tourist destinations
by train : there is a train service between
Bangkok and the towns in the north and the
north-east, but the trips are long, due to the
distance and the slow speed of the trains
by boat : in the south there is a regular
ferry service going between the main islands and
by road: the road network is widespread.
There are good bus and minibus services for fairly
short range trips.
+ 6 hours in winter,
+ 5 hours in summer (with France).
Thailand : dial 00 66 + the town code + the number
of your correspondent
codes : Bangkok = 2, Hua Hin = 32, Kanchaburi = 34,
Chiang Mai = 53, Koh Samui = 77
Pattaya = 38, Phuket = 76
residents have created a paper called "Le Gavroche"
which relates what is going on in the francophone
community in Bangkok.
JOURNAL LE GAVROCHE.
20/27 Soi Nailert, Wireless Road.Bangkok 10330
Tel : 253.39.23 or 01-494.34.38 - Fax :
: The Don Muang International airport is 25 kms
from the town centre.
Chiang Mai International airport is 6 kms from the
town centre. Thai Airways has several daily flights
going there from Bangkok (1h10 flight time) and a
weekly flight from Phuket. There are also 3 flights
a week by Singapore Airline (a 3 hour
: flights from Bangkok or from Chiangmai
flights from Bangkok (1h20 flight time) and Phuket
(50 mins flight time) with Bangkok
: Phuket International airport is 32 kms from the
town. Thai Airways has about fifteen flights a day
from Bangkok (1h20).
There are several
agencies all over Thailand.
Reservations: tel 662 255 5300 fax 662 254 6719
airport bds. 1 and 2 : tel 662 535 4052 - in town :
2/12 Wireless Road, Downtown tel 662 2555300-4 333
Chert Wudthakas Rd (opp Bangkok intl. airport) tel
662 566 1020 - 494 Rajdamri Rd tel 662 254 1234 -
971 Ploenchit Rd, Downtown tel 662 2530444
: 1349 Petchkasem Rd, tel 032 520008
: airport 053 201798-9 - in town : 122 Changkian Rd
tel 053 281033-6
: 1129 Kraison Rd tel 053
715777 - Chiangai airp. tel 053 793827 - Golden
Triangle 053 716678
Yai : airport tel 074
234300-28 - Sanehanusorn Rd tel 074 352239
Hin : 1 Damnemkasem Rd
tel 032 512021- airport tel 032 520008-9
Kaen : airport tel 043
: Tambon Krabinoi, Amphur
Mueng, 81130 tel 76 324050-2
Son : Nivestphisal Rd,
Chongham, Meng tel 6653 620457
: 218/2-4 Moo, 10, Seaside Rd, tel 038 361628 - 240
Pattaya Beach Rd, tel 038 361627-8
: 29 Moo 4 Srisoontorn
Rd, tel 076 340480-5 - 322 Srisoontrorn Rd, Tambon
Choeng Talay tel 076 324352 - 33 Moo 4, Srisoontorn
Rd, tel 076324374 - 390 Srisoontorn Rd, Tambon
Choeng Talay tel 076 324320-32 - 8/5 Moo 1 , Tambon
Karon, tel 076 340480-5 - Bangtao Bay tel 076
324101-7 - Kalim Beach Rd, Paton, tel 076342777 -
Pansea Beach, Talang, tel 076 324300 - Phuket
airport, tel 076 327358
: 38 Airport Rd, Arnyik,
tel 055 258062
Island : 12/12 Moo 1
Tambon, Maenam, Koh Samul, tel 077 425031-38 -
Samui airport : 077 425012 Udon
Thani : Liangmuang Rd,
Mahkkeng, tel 042 244770
All Avis cars are completely
equipped, have done less than 15,000 kms and have
an average age of 3 months. The vehicles are
carefully prepared and checked between each rental
using a procedure containing 7 obligatory control
points. The cars are rented with a full tank.
Renting from Avis automatically means that the car
passengers, renter and/or driver are covered by a
third party insurance as well as an insurance
covering repatriation and the immobilization of the
vehicule in case of an accident.
You can reserve a car :
- from your travel agent
- from the international reservation centre at 0
820 05 05 05
- or from any Avis agency
Avis has an interactive network worldwide, a client
can reserve a car instantly from anywhere in the
We recommend that you pay
your rental using your accredited Avis card or with
another credit card accepted by Avis : American
Express, Visa, Mastercard, Diners.
Through a simple free membership system, Avis gives
identity and/or payment cards, which are a real
help for a rapid and efficient service.
It is however
better and easier to take a chauffeur-guide as the
trafic is very difficult and it is not easy to find
your way around in Bangkok.
has some of the best hotels in the world. The
service is classy and friendly, there is always a
welcome drink, a flower on the pillow and a
Oriental Ave, New Road, 10500 Bangkok, tel 66 2 236
0400, fax 66 2 236 1937/9
One of the top hotels in Asia, a mixture of
tradition and elegance in a beautiful setting on
the bank of the Chao Praya.
WATERGATE, 847 Petchburi Rd, Rajthevi Pratunam,
10400 Bangkok, tel 66 2 653 9000 fax 66 2 653
In the centre of Bangkok near the commercial
district of Pratunam and the business centre around
the World Trade.
Rama IV Road, 10500 Bangkok, tel 66 2 236 0450/9
fax 66 2 236 6400
Modern and central
ROYAL GARDEN RIVERSIDE HOTEL, 257/1-3 Charoennakorn
Rd, Bookkalo, Thonburi, 10600 Bangkok Tel 66 2 476
0021/2 fax 66 2 460 1805
A charming hotel in a park with elephants and a
very pleasant spa.
PRINCESS, 16 Sukhumuit Soi, 5 Sukhumuit Road,
Bangkok, tel : 66 2.253.4300,fax : 66 2 255 8850 A
Californian style hotel situated in the residential
and business district in Bangkok
PRESIDENT, 135/26 Gaysorn Road - Bangkok Tel : 66
2.253.0444 - Fax : 66 2.253.7565.
In the centre of the business and shopping
districts. The staff speak French.
CROWN PLAZA, 981 Silom Road,10500 Bangkok, tel : 66
2.238.4300, Fax : 66 2.238.5289
40 mn from the airport in the centre of the
business and shopping district.
is very refined and artistically prepared.
Specialities : citronella and shrimp soup, curries
made with coconut milk, shrimp salad, chicken and
fish cooked in steam in pandanus leaves, exotic
You can eat delicious satay kebabs and other local
dishes on the street, Thai people don't eat three
full meals a day, they eat when they are hungry so
there are always street sellers with mouth-watering
food stands and as the standards of hygiene are
high there is very little risk if you eat from
restaurant addresses :
*Kaolang, 2 Sriayudhaya Rd, Sisaoteves Dusit : a
hangar on the river bank next to the Prince's
boats, where you can eat delicious sea food
*Supatra River House, 266 Soï wat
Rakhang-Arunamarin Rd, Ta Maharat jetty: an ancient
royal house transformed into a restaurant, typical
Thai food and sea food.
*Ti Potchana, Patunam crossroads: a local
restaurant, quite quaint, where they do an
excellent crab curry.
light cotton clothing.
Thais like dressing up and will appreciate the fact
that you make an effort to dress for dinner.
You can buy cheaply very nice cotton and silk
clothes in Thailand and even get them made to
measure. I would advise taking a nearly empty
suitcase and filling it up as you go
Take a light sweater for the
north, and for evenings in airconditionned hotels
and sandals which are easy to slip on and off when
you are visiting temples.
of the population go to primary school, 28% to
secondary school and there are 963 university
graduates per 100,000 inhabitants. The school
children wear British-type school
There is a
French school in Bangkok :
29 Thanon Sathorn Taï, Bangkok 10120.
Tel : (662) 287.15.99 - Fax: (662) 287.26.39
which goes from pre-school to secondary 1st and 2nd
The languages taught are English as first language,
German and Spanish as second languages.
: 220 V., Television : PAL
Time differences (with France) : + 5 hours in
summer, + 6 hours in winter
Hot season : from March to May/June
Rainy season : from the beginning of July to
Cool season : from November to February
Units of measure : decimal system
Driving : on the left
Flight time Paris-Bangkok : 11 hours
Airport tax : international 500 baht (125 FF)
Transport airport -town : bus B25 or B70, taxis
Tipping : 10% in restaurants and a bit more in
Tax : 7% on hotel bills, 7% VAT on most
27th July : Asarnha Bucha Day
28th July : Buddhist Lent
12th August : the Queen's birthday
23rd October : Chulalongkorn Day
5th December : the King's birthday, National
10th December : Constitution Day
25th December : Christmas
31st December -1st January : New Year
holidays which don't always fall on the same
: you can have a suit or a silk dress made up
within 24 hours.
Jewels (gold and precious or semi-precious stones),
antiques, really cheap imitations of watches and
big brand name clothing which you can get from
street stands (watch out for the customs when you
get back home), handicrafts : lacquerware,
silverware, objects in teak, orchids ...
: Thai boxing is a national sport, it is an
ancestral fighting technique where no holds are
The best places to see it : Lumphini, Rama V
Avenue or Ratchadamnoen , Ratchadamnoen
The fights begin at about 3pm and end when there
are no competitors left. Sensations guaranteed. Its
worth it just to look at what's going on in the
There are several
French banks in Thailand :
Lyonnaise de Banque, Crédit Lyonnais,
Société Générale, BNP,
BFCE, PARIBAS, CCF, Crédit Agricole
Indosuez House, 153 Wireless Rd
Tel 66 2 651 45 90 Fax 66 2 651 45 86
Thailand' - CFCE (1994) - 132 pages.Price 120
Published by Gallimard
need a permit to export antiques and art
Attention : French customs can be very strict if
you bring counterfeit goods into the country, the
tax and/or fine can be way over what you paid for