Footwear frenzy: More than 300 shoes stolen from tourist resorts in Chiang Mai, Thailand

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Accommodation and hotel resort owners in the northern province of Chiang Mai appealed to the police to take action after more than 300 pairs of guests’ shoes were stolen in the past two months.

A Thai man who owns a hostel on Soi Saha Si Phum Place on Manee Nopparat Road in Chiang Mai shared CCTV footage on social media of thieves stealing his guests’ shoes and called for police action.

The hostel owner told Channel 3 that the thieves sometimes worked alone and sometimes in pairs. They targeted new or expensive shoes without concern for the presence of security cameras.

Clarifying that the issue extended beyond his hostel, the owner disclosed that similar thefts had occurred in 20 other tourist accommodations in the vicinity. Discussions with fellow proprietors revealed that over the past two months, more than 300 pairs of shoes had been stolen.

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Another hotel owner disclosed that a majority of the victims were foreign visitors who had recently purchased new shoes but had not reported the thefts to the police. Despite the matter being reported by hotel owners, police refused to pursue the cases, citing that they were not the direct victims.

Frustrated by police inaction, the hotel owner stressed that this lack of intervention only encouraged the thieves. In response, the police suggested encouraging guests to store their shoes in their rooms and providing wardrobes for safeguarding footwear.

Expressing concern, the owner argued that the police should take proactive measures against these thefts, even in the absence of direct victim complaints. She emphasised that any negative experiences shared on social media or with other tourists could tarnish the image of Chiang Mai province and Thailand as a whole.

Shoe thefts are not exclusively confined to hotels, they also pose a significant problem for visitors to temples in Thailand. As visitors are required to remove their shoes before entering main halls or praying to Buddha statues, opportunistic thieves exploit this practice, targeting expensive and designer-branded shoes for lucrative gains.

Last year, a Thai man was arrested for stealing flip-flops from condominiums and houses in Nonthaburi province near Bangkok. Officers found more than 120 pairs of flip-flops in his home. The thief confessed that he stole them to masturbate.

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Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger who focuses on translating breakingThai news stories into English. With a background in field journalism, Petch brings several years of experience to the English News desk at The Thaiger. Before joining The Thaiger, Petch worked as a content writer for several known blogging sites in Bangkok, including Happio and The Smart Local. Her articles have been syndicated by many big publishers in Thailand and internationally, including the Daily Mail, The Sun and the Bangkok Post. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp! But during office hours, you can find Petch on LinkedIn and you can reach her by email at

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