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Pestle pistol swindle

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Pestle pistol swindle | The Thaiger
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SONGKHLA: It’s always worth keeping in mind the phrase caveat emptor, or “let the buyer beware”, when making any purchase.

The warning should be especially well heeded when the item under consideration is somewhat less than 100% legit.

This sage advice must have been far from the mind of one wannabe tough guy in Haad Yai, however, when he paid 15,000 baht for a bag that ended up containing nothing more than an old pestle and a few rocks.

On the afternoon of May 8, Phongsakon Niamhom walked into Haad Yai Police Station and told a tale of woe to duty officer Pol Lt Somchai Hatkhaja.

Phongsakon, 28, told the officer that he had long wanted to own his very own gun; he did not tell the policeman why he wanted a firearm, however.

Not knowing how to go about getting hold of such a weapon, he mentioned it to a motorcycle-taxi driver on Sriphuwanat Rd Soi 10, whose service he often used.

Motorcycle drivers tend to play the same role in Thai society as The Yellow Pages do in the West, so it comes as no surprise that the driver, later identified as 30-year-old Wichian Rakkhlai, knew just the person to fix his customer with a gun.

Before long, Wichian came back with a young woman called Saow, who identified herself as an Army Ranger.

A bit short of cash, Saow said she would sell him a pistol complete with license and registration for 20,000 baht.

Phongsakon agreed to the price and Wichian drove Saow off to go and buy the “gun”.

A little while later, Wichian and Saow returned with a little black bag that Sow claimed contained the gun. Somehow, she made Phongsakon promise not to look in it until she had left. When Phongsakon asked to see the paperwork, Saow said that she hadn’t brought it with her, but would return with it the next day.

A little put off at this, Phongsakon said that he would give her 15,000 baht for the gun alone and hand over the 5,000-baht balance when she gave him the license.

Happily agreeing to this, Saow took the cash and then rushed off with Wichian again.

After the pair had left, Phongsakon felt it was safe to take a peek at his purchase. When he opened the bag, however, he found not a shiny pistol, but a pestle and five or six stones, all wrapped in two T-shirts.

Filled with anger, Phongsakon rushed to the police station to report the fraud. Officers accompanied him back to the taxi stand to hunt for Wichian. After a short wait, Wichian came back to his spot and was duly arrested.

Wichian claimed he was merely the driver and said he knew nothing of the scam. Police charged him with fraud. As this went to press, they were still hunting for the elusive Saow.

It had not been reported whether any action would be taken against Phongsakon for attempting to buy a firearm.

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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