Mobile tower battery gang charged with theft

Image courtesy of KhaoSod

The Thai police dismantled a gang stealing backup batteries from mobile phone signal towers, resulting in over 10 million baht in damages from over 100 batteries stolen.

The Police Region 2 Commissioner Songprasong Yentoem, along with Investigation Commander Teerachai Chamnanmor, and Somchai Nakrat from Advanced Info Service (AIS), yesterday, June 23, held a press conference to announce the capture of the gang responsible for stealing backup batteries from mobile phone signal towers.

Seven suspects, members of the organised crime ring were arrested, with some members still at large. The police confiscated 114 batteries as part of the operation.

The investigation began after police received numerous complaints about battery thefts from mobile phone signal towers across Eastern Thailand. These thefts started in January, with the gang committing over 150 thefts and stealing more than 300 batteries. The stolen batteries resulted in damages exceeding ten million baht for AIS.

The gang targeted remote areas with minimal CCTV coverage. Their expertise in mobile signal tower systems suggested that the thieves had prior experience in the field.

Songprasong explained that lithium batteries installed in signal towers serve as backup power sources in case of power outages, ensuring uninterrupted mobile communication for the public.

Each signal tower typically houses two to three high-wattage lithium batteries, costing around 40,000 baht each. The gang operated systematically, quickly selling stolen batteries to fence buyers for 5,000 to 8,000 baht each. These batteries were then resold on the black market for 12,000 to 14,000 baht.

The actions of the thieves and the middlemen constitute theft and receiving stolen property, crimes punishable by up to five years in prison. If the theft or receiving stolen property is habitual or part of a business, it is considered as money laundering which is punishable by one to ten years in prison or fines ranging from 20,000 to 200,000 baht or both.

Police have already seized over one million baht from the accounts of the middlemen involved in this illegal trade. The suspects will face prosecution for each offence committed.

AIS suffered significant operational disruptions due to the thefts, which compromised their ability to provide reliable mobile phone service during power outages. The stolen batteries were critical for maintaining signal strength and communication in affected areas, reported KhaoSod.

The investigation is ongoing, with authorities working to apprehend the remaining suspects and dismantle the entire network involved in these thefts.

Crime NewsThailand News

Ryan Turner

Ryan is a journalism student from Mahidol University with a passion for history, writing and delivering news content with a rich storytelling narrative.

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