Lawyer and interpreter are to be arranged for an official accused of theft in Japan

The Department of Intellectual Property has coordinated with the Thai embassy in Tokyo and the Thai consular office in Osaka to arrange for a lawyer and an interpreter for a senior official detained by Japanese for allegedly stealing three paintings from a hotel.

Mr Suphat Sa-nguandeekul, deputy director-general of the Department of Intellectual Property, was accused of stealing three paintings worth 15,000 yen from a hotel he stayed in Kyoto. The paintings were found in his luggage when he checked out of the hotel.

DIP director-general Tossaphol Thungsabut said that, at this stage, the accused should be treated fairly and given a chance to defend himself. He admitted that Mr Suphat was a capable and resourceful official who had a clean record.

Suphat was in Tokyo to attend a symposium on information technology organized by the World Intellectual Property Organization and the Japanese Intellectual Property Office during January 16-20 in Tokyo. He was also invited by a Japanese university to give a talk on the Thai government's policy on the promotion of the protection of intellectual property rights.

Although the incident is personal, Mr Tossaphol admitted that it tainted the reputation of the department.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)