Crime surge greets Phuket Veg Fest

PHUKET: Just days after Phuket’s top police officer warned crime would increase during the Vegetarian Festival, the island appears to be facing a wave of criminal activity.

Yesterday alone saw at least two burglaries, the theft of a motorcycle and the arrest of a Burmese man for possession of krathom leaves.

Bike theft: At around 6.30pm yesterday a school teacher reported a stolen motorbike to Phuket City Police.

Thirty-year-old Krongthip Thamro, a teacher at Plukpanya School in Phuket City, had parked her green Honda Wave motorcycle outside the Tesco Lotus superstore.

When she returned after her shopping, the bike had vanished.

Officers including Inspector Wijak “The Magnet” Tarom have visited the scene and are studying CCTV footage to try to identify the thieves.

Police believe the criminals are members of a gang who steal motorcycles, disassemble them and and sell the parts. The gang have reportedly been highly active recently.

House burglary: At 8.30pm, 29-year-old engineer Amornphong Ritthong reported a burglary at his house in Rassada.

Mr Amornphong told Phuket City Police he left his home in the Srisuchart Grand View estate off the bypass road at 8am that day to run some errands.

When he returned at 5.30pm and opened the front door, he almost fainted, he said.

His possessions were scattered all over the floor. Missing from the house were a notebook computer, a digital camera, 10 Buddhist amulets, two bottles of spirits and about 6,000 baht in small coins.

The thieves gained entry through a window, which they smashed.

Inspector Yongyuth Krongmalai of Phuket City Police said the criminals probably cased Mr Amornphong’s home for some time before seizing the chance to rob it.

Nurse robbed: Half an hour after receiving Mr Amornphong’s report, Lt Col Yongyuth received a report of a second burglary.

Jarunee Ratthanaphan, a 33-year-old nurse at Bangkok Phuket Hospital, said she had returned home from work at 6.30pm to find she had been robbed.

The doorknob of her rented room on a soi off Yaowarat Road, close to the hospital, had been smashed.

Inside, she found her possessions scattered all over the floor.

The thieves stole some gold jewellery, a notebook computer, a digital camera and a watch.

Police suspect the criminals live close to the crime scene and that they robbed Ms Jarunee’s room almost as soon as she went to work around 8am that morning.

This reporter’s house, also close to the crime scene, was also recently burgled. Police were unable to catch the perpetrators.

Burmese krathom arrest: Around 10.30pm, police arrested Burmese citizen Kyaw Kyay Oo, 27, allegedly in possession of 115 krathom leaves.

Mr Kyaw Kyay was picked up by police at Si Mum Muang market in Wichit.

The suspect aroused police suspicions when he was seen driving into the market and parking in an unlit area.

Police searched him and allegedly found 115 krathom leaves stashed in the compartment beneath the motorbike seat.

The suspect told the police the leaves were his personal property. Police are changing him with possession of a Type 5 narcotic.

Phuket News
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