13 looters arrested in Patong

PATONG: Police have arrested 13 people for looting damaged businesses in the Patong area.

Pol Col Teeraphol Thipjaroen, the Superintendent of Kathu Police Station, told the Gazette that since December 26 his officers had arrested nine Thais and four Burmese for looting.

“In accordance with the law, people engaged in theft at a time of crisis like this are subject to severe penalties and will not receive bail. They have already appeared in court and are now awaiting further hearings before the judge,” Col Teeraphol added.

Under Thai law, anyone found guilty of theft “…by taking advantage of … distress or calamity, or by taking advantage of public panic” faces imprisonment of up to five years and a fine of up to 10,000 baht.

He noted that the owners of a shop on the beach road had reported that some of the jewelry in it had been swept out onto the beach and into the sea by the receding tsunami, but that the shop’s safe, containing cash and gems worth about 3 million baht, had been stolen.

Col Teeraphol added, “At night, police officers are standing guard around shops that have been damaged to prevent looting. Business owners have also employed private security companies to do the same.”

However, he added, the situation in Patong has improved greatly. Tourists can travel in safety to the town, and there is still plenty of accommodation that was not damaged by the tsunami.

“The beach is clean, the water is fine for swimming and the entertainment area in Soi Bangla is already open again for business,” Col Teeraphol added.

Phuket News
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