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72 year old taxi driver disappears with millions

Jack Burton

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PHOTO: Khaosod English

A elderly taxi driver has vanished without a trace after he became an overnight millionaire when he told the media a sad tale of poverty, indebtedness and lack of family support, according to one of his creditors, who is also the owner of the taxi company.

Preecha Chumsombat, the owner of the Mangkorn Chao Phraya taxi rental service in Samut Prakan, just south of Bangkok, told Khaosod that the driver, Sitthichai Klaichid, had rented a taxi from him for several years.

He says when he saw Sitthichai’s story in the media, he knew the driver wasn’t being truthful because Sittichai was living in his ex-wife’s home with his son and daughter, who are both employed.

Preecha says he didn’t go public and expose the taxi driver because he might have been mistaken or might appear jealous over the taxi driver’s sudden windfall, but said he decided to speak up because both the driver and his son owed him a total of 15,370 baht. He says he contacted Sittichai’s son, who came to see him to talk about the debts and promised to settle them, but neither father or son has been seen since.

Preecha went to their house, but was told by neighbours that the Sitthichai family had not been seen since he received about 8 million baht in public donations.

UPDATE: Late yesterday, Preecha withdrew a complaint against Sitthichai, at Samut Prakan police station, after he received repayment of the debt.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

 

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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