Pechaya Wattanamontree is making headlines after posting photos of herself on Instagram with at least nine new Hermès items that she recently purchased abroad. Add to that the video that has been circulating of her purchasing one of the Paris-based house’s famed Birkin bags, which tend to cost upwards of $8,000. Interestingly, the Hermès goods themselves are not what have Pechaya, who rose to fame after winning Miss Teen Thailand in 2006, in hot water. It seems the Thai actress and model failed to pay the legally-mandated 30 percent customs duty on the items, raising questions as to whether celebrities get special treatment in connection with such matters in Thailand.
Thai Customs Department Director-General Kulit Sombatsiri released a statement on Friday, saying that the actress has been contacted to clarify the matter. He further held that if duties still need to be paid, then the tariff plus a fine will be levied. "There are over 1,000 flights arriving a day so we can't check everyone," he was quoted as saying in Friday's edition of The Nation newspaper. But as to any special treatment, he said, "We don't observe double standards here."
While the photos have been deleted from Instagram, but in their captions Pechaya called the bags she bought in Singapore a pre-birthday gift to herself. The actress on a number of Thai television dramas and soaps turns 27 next week.
Wattanamontree could not be contacted Friday, but her father Supat said her purchases were not a problem and the issue would be clarified next week.