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Gold thief caught hiding in policeman’s home

Myanmar labourer says debt to loan shark left him desperate

An image from a security video shows a man running out of a gold shop in Bang Bon district of Bangkok on Saturday after making off with five bracelets. Police later spotted him hiding in a tree on the property of a high-ranking police officer. (Photos supplied)

A labourer from Myanmar was caught hiding in a police officer’s home after making off with 150,000 baht worth of gold jewellery from a shop in Bang Bon district of Bangkok on Saturday, police said.

Pilaiwan Chalaemchart, an employee at Thai Siri gold shop in the Nai Liang market, reported the theft of five gold bracelets to Bang Khunthian police at around 10am.

She said the man, wearing a face mask, entered the shop and asked her to take several bracelets from the display shelf. He then snatched them from her hands and fled into the market.

During the subsequent chase, police were informed by a good samaritan that he had witnessed the suspect changing his clothes and running into a house at the end of the market as its main gate was left open. He was not aware that the house belongs to Pol Maj Gen Varayuth Sukhawat, deputy commissioner of Provincial Police Region 7, who also owns the market.

When police arrived at the house, they spotted the suspect hiding in a tree, about 3 metres from the ground.

During questioning, the suspect, identified as Tat Au, 30, reportedly told police that he was working at a textile factory in Bang Kae district, earning 5,000 baht a month, which is well below the statutory minimum wage.

He said he had borrowed 70,000 baht from a loan shark to provide for his family in Myanmar, and he had decided to commit the gold theft because he was under immense stress to pay 3,000 baht to the loan shark each month.

After police found three of the five stolen bracelets during the arrest, the suspect claimed he had lost the other two during the chase in the market.

The suspect was taken to the Bang Khunthian station for further investigation.


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