PHUKET TOWN: Twelve people holding time deposit and savings accounts in Bangkok Bank’s Thepkrassatri Rd branch are suing to recover a total of more than five million baht allegedly embezzled by bank employees. One of the victims was Chamnong Tiansub. “On September 1, my daughter was called to the bank by [one of the accused] who told her to bring our savings account book with her for updating. “She found him waiting for her outside the bank. He took her book inside, and then brought it back out again. She was worried by the way he handled things and concerned about why he seemed to be in a rush. So we went back the following day and found that [entries in the book notwithstanding], there had, in fact, been nothing in the account for years. We lost 1,057,000 baht.” Another victim, Sujin Sae-Ong, a 50-year-old merchant in the talad sot, said he first deposited money in the bank in 1991. When he went there to withdraw funds on October 5 last week, staff told him that his savings book was a fake, and that there was no record of him holding an account with the bank. Although two bank employees have been arrested in connection with the case, it is as yet unclear whether the depositors will be reimbursed by the bank and, if they are, how long it will take. Indeed, the 12 have been so discouraged by the bank’s response that they have instructed lawyers to sue for the return of their deposits. Khun Chamnong, who deposited his funds 10 years ago after selling a piece of land, told the Gazette, “We were told initially that the bank was not responsible because the two people who were arrested had already resigned from the bank before we found out that the money was missing.” It was not clear how the resignations, or the timing of them, would have a bearing on the bank’s responsibility to the depositors. The bank’s management has since agreed to look further into the matter, though it has yet to acknowledge liability. Mayuree Suksomboon, manager of the Thepkrassatri Rd branch, advised reporters to contact the bank’s Southern Chapter II manager, who is based in the Bangkok head office. “It’s beyond my authority,” she said. “I cannot tell if we will pay or not. And if we do decide to pay, I cannot say how the clients will be paid. I’m only an intermediary, trying my best to coordinate between the clients and our head office.” The Gazette was told by the head office that the Southern Chapter II manager is currently overseas. His deputy, however, said, that all 12 cases are being investigated. “The next step [after completion of the investigation], will be to forward the findings to our law office. Its recommendations will then be considered by a bank committee [set up to handle this case]. “I have no idea how long the investigation will take or when a decision will be made,” he added.
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