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Spineless heroes

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Spineless heroes | The Thaiger
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LOPBURI: Dogs and horses are known for their faithful service in law-enforcement activities.

In Lopburi Province, however, police recently found a new animal ally – the humble leech.

On the evening of January 13, Pol Lt Col Theerayuth Yungthong, investigation inspector at Lopburi Muang District Police Station, received a call from the headman of Village 6 in Tambon Khao Sam Yod.

The headman reported that a group of ne’er-do-wells in a pickup truck were carrying out the lowliest of crimes: stealing drain covers from public roadways to sell as scrap metal.

Quickly assembling a crack squad of officers, Col Theerayuth set off in pursuit.

They caught up with the thieves near Ba Wai Railway Station, but the grate-rustlers abandoned their truck and ran off into a low-lying, woody area by the station.

Police surrounded the patch of woods and hunted for the suspects – but to no avail.

Then, after about an hour of fruitless searching, a young man with blood pouring down his neck emerged. He wanted to give himself up.

The youth identified himself as Songyot “Joe” Thiangtae, 19, from Saraburi.

He had been hiding in a pond in the woods while the police hunted for him and was prepared to stay there as long as needed until officers gave up the search, he told police after his arrest

However, his determination to elude the long arm of the law lessened considerably when he was set upon by the tiny, bloodsucking predators that are always on patrol in swampy parts of Thailand.

“I could cope with lying still in the cold water, but when the leeches started biting my neck it was more than I could bear.

“I feared death; that all the blood would be drained from my body. I felt that if I stayed in the pond any longer, even more leeches would appear, so in the end I admitted defeat. If it hadn’t been for those pesky leeches sucking my blood, I would have escaped for sure,” Joe said, in a feeble tone.

In the back of the truck abandoned by the robbers, police found nine drain covers that Joe admitted having helped steal to sell for scrap.

Police are now hunting for the remaining three members of the gang.

They did not say whether the leeches would be given any kind of recognition for the pivotal role they played in Joe’s arrest.

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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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