Swatch, a Swiss watchmaker that specializes in making luxury watches and jewelry, is suing the Malaysian government for seizing their LGBTQ celebratory watches.
The lawsuit was filed on June 24th at the Kuala Lumpur high court. Swatch is seeking compensation and the return of 172 watches taken by officials for “LGBTQ elements” appearing on the watches.
Home ministry officials illegally possessed 172 watches in Swatch’s Pride collection from 16 outlets, Swatch contends in court documents according, to NBC News. Most of the watches, which in total are worth over $14,000 USD, did not even include the letters “LGBTQ.”
Swatch continued to say in the lawsuit that, “Without a doubt, the seized watches did not and are not in any way capable of causing any disruption to public order or morality or any violations of the law."
This came in response to the seizure notices, which claimed the watches were potentially breaching Malaysian law. Nonetheless, Swatch is seeking damages, the return of the watches, and hopes of being able to conduct business peacefully again one day in the country.
Malaysia criminalizes same-sex activity between male and females. Gender expression within the trans community is criminalized as well. If found guilty, prisoners can be subjected to a maximum of 20 years in prison along with a mandatory whipping.
The country is infamous for enforcing such laws in recent years. Last Halloween, 18 people were detained at a Halloween party attended by members of the LGBTQ+ community. This case was covered heavily by LGBTQ+ activists during the last few months of 2022.
- "Malaysia raids Swatch stores, seizes colorful watches linked to gay pride" (Associated Press)