Identity heist: Thai man’s plastic surgery ploy backfires, friend jailed in case of mistaken identity

Photo via ThaiRath.

A Thai man resorted to using his friend’s identity to commit a crime and then underwent plastic surgery in an attempt to evade capture. This wrongful act led to his friend being wrongfully imprisoned for 80 days in his place. The transformed criminal was eventually apprehended on Saturday, September 16.

The incident unfolded on September 10 when the parents of the victim, 25 year old Anucha, sought assistance from the non-profit organization Saimai Survive. They reported that their son had been arrested and detained, despite having no prior involvement in criminal activities. The actual perpetrator was allegedly Anucha’s friend, 25 year old Phuwadon.

Anuch’s parents said that officers from Krok Karm Police Station arrested Anucha at his workplace in Bangkok on June 13. The police accused Anucha of failing to appear in court after being arrested on a drug charge and released on bail.

Anuch’s parents said the police accused their son of evading arrest for three years. They tried to apply for a temporary release but the court refused. Anucha was sent to Bangkok Remand Prison immediately after his arrest.

Anuch’s parents went on to explain that officers at Krok Karm Police Station later uncovered evidence suggesting that they had arrested the wrong person. As a result, Anucha was released after 80 days in prison.

According to the police, the real criminal, Phuwadon, was asked to stop at a police checkpoint on August 23, 2020, because his car had no registration plates. Phuwadon also tested positive for drugs and was arrested at the checkpoint.

Phuwadon lied to the police that he had forgotten his identification card and told the officers that his name was Anucha. Phuwadon was briefly detained at the police station before his mother bailed him out the next day.

Phuwadon’s mother asked for a copy of Anucha’s identity card to successfully bail Phuwadon out. Phuwadon was required to report to the court after his temporary release. However, Phuwadon never reported to the court, leading to the arrest of his friend.

Police said Phuwadon also undergone plastic surgery to avoid arrest and later applied for jobs as a party entertainer at various entertainment venues. Officers managed to arrest him in the car park of a bar in Bangkok’s Lat Phrao district on September 16.

Anucha told Channel 3 that he was stressed during his detention and almost admitted to committing a crime because of the pressure.

The police said they would discuss compensation for Anucha with the Ministry of Justice, as well as measures to prevent wrongful arrests in the future.

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Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger focusing on Thai news and what's happening in Thailand. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp.