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French, Iranian tourists arrested for B1mn Phuket hotel robberies

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: Two tourists have been charged for robbing guest safe boxes at three Phuket hotels and making off with more than a million baht in mixed currencies.

Receptionists at the Baan Luktan Resort said that the men gave them spiked drinks that made them fall asleep, so that the pair could break into the safe boxes.

Iranian Shahram Ghorbaniafshar, 48, and French national Stephane Emery, 42, were arrested at the Baan Tonsai Bangalow [sic] in Patong at about noon yesterday.

“We found cash in several currencies with a net value of about a million baht,” said Lt Col Sutthichai Tianpho of the Patong Police.

“We also found screwdrivers and other tools that they used to break into the boxes, as well as the clothes worn when they committed the robberies.”

An exacting search by officers found 100,000 baht hidden in Mr Emery’s rectum.

The pair were arrested after police received a spate of reports on Wednesday night from staff of the Sutin Guesthouse, Baan Luktan Resort and Sawasdee Guesthouse [names provided by police in Thai only], all saying that they had been robbed.

“We could see the suspects on the CCTV footage at the guesthouses, [but not their faces as] they were wearing helmets,” Col Sutthichai told the Phuket Gazette.

“So we checked CCTV along the streets to see which direction they were heading when they left. However, we could not make out the license plate number [of their motorbike].”

Officers later found a motorcycle matching the description of the one used in the robberies, parked at the Tonsai Bangalow [sic]. The motorbike and two men riding it were placed under surveillance.

“We followed them to an exchange booth, and after checking CCTV footage again, we were confident that they were the criminals, so we moved in and made the arrests,” Col Sutthichai said.

“While we were searching their hotel room, they attempted to bribe us with 100,000 baht cash. If they had actually tried to hand us the money, we would have charged them for that also.”

The pair have so far been charged [only] for committing the thefts. However, police are investigating claims that the men drugged hotel staff in order to commit the robberies.

— Kritsada Mueanhawong


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