Bag-snatching gang arrested
PHUKET TOWN: Nine suspects, including five teenagers, were arrested yesterday for their alleged involvement in a series of bag snatchings, following a five-week police investigation into their activities. Police say that all of the suspects have admitted to being party to a number of snatchings in and around Phuket Town. The first case, on March 25 at around 7:45 pm, happened while Kalaya Sameupark was riding her motorbike in front of the Yada Dental Clinic on Hongsyok-U-Thit Rd. A boy on a motorbike drove up alongside her, grabbed her purse and fled. The bag held her mobile phone and personal documents. Police, continuing their investigation into the incident, found on Tuesday that K. Kalaya’s mobile phone was still in use. Further investigation traced the user to 17-year-old “Jeed”. Police invited Jeed and her father, 36-year-old Pairoj, to make a statement at the Phuket Town Police Station. Jeed confessed that she had been given the mobile phone by her boyfriend, 18-year-old Rangsit Tongjankaew. Pairoj admitted to knowing that the phone had been stolen, police say. The police found Rangsit in a rented house behind Surakul Stadium, along with 16-year-old “Bow”, 15-year-old “Tee”, and 16 year-old “Tongchai”. All were brought in for questioning. Rangsit admitted to police that he carried out the March 25 snatching, and also confessed to two robberies on March 27, two in April, and one last Friday. He told police that on March 27 at about 6 pm, he and Bow snatched a mobile phone and a bag from a woman riding alone on her motorbike near Soi Kong Pram, Chao Fa East Rd Later that evening, Rangsit told police, he carried out another robbery with Bow, at the intersection in front of the Thainaan Restaurant. He admitted to stealing a bag and two mobile phones, one of which was given to 28-year-old Somsak Saeong. Rangsit said he snatched another bag on April 1 with Bow and got a mobile phone, which he sold to 17-year-old “Ruj”. Rangsit and Bow both confessed to another theft on April 7, when they stole a mobile phone and a bag. The phone was sold to a boy named “Dum”. Rangsit and Bow also confessed to snatching a bag on May 3 on Bangkok Rd in Phuket Town, and to giving the victim’s mobile phone to 18-year-old Suratree Ritthidej. Meanwhile, Tee and Tongchai both confessed to riding together and snatching a bag in the Thungtong area. Yesterday, victims of all of the robberies went to Phuket Town Police station to identify the suspects and claim their possessions. Rangsit, Bow, Tee and Tongchai were all identified by the victims they had allegedly stolen from. Police charged Jeed, Rangsit, Bow, Tee and Tongchai for committing theft by snatching and using a vehicle to do the illegal act, and receiving stolen property. Suratree, Ruj, Somsak and Pairoj were each charged with receiving stolen property. The five minors were sent to Juvenile Observation and Protection Center (JOPC) while the four adults are being held at the Phuket Town Police Station awaiting court appearances. Police say are still searching for more suspects, including Dum, who they believe has gone to Chiang Mai.
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