Connect with us


PHUKET GEM HEIST: B5mn in jewelry still missing



PHUKET: Phuket Provincial Police Commander Chonasit Wattanavrangkul this afternoon confirmed that 173 items have yet to be recovered from the jewelry and gem heist in Phuket yesterday morning, despite police having three foreigners in custody.

The missing valuables are estimated to be worth about 5 million baht, he told a press conference at Phuket City Police Station today.

Presented to the press today were Mexican national Ruben Dario Zapata Gonzalez, 40, and Roslina Binti Abu Bakar, 42, from Malaysia. (Click here for our earlier report)

The third foreigner arrested, a Turkish national named by police as Riza Balkan, 49, remains in police custody in Trang province, where the gang were arrested after the car they were travelling in failed to stop at a police checkpoint.

Highway Police manning the checkpoint gave pursuit and forced the car to stop.

Officers searched the vehicle and found most of the stolen loot in luggage inside the car, Maj Gen Chonasit explained.

One Mexican woman, named by police as 57-year-old Mejia Zuluaga Maria Asseneth, managed to flee the scene, he said.

Police believe Ms Asseneth to be central to the robbery and she remains at large. She may be heading south to Thailand’s border with Malaysia.

A warrant for her arrest has been issued, said Maj Gen Chonasit.

Mr Balkan is apparently being held by Trang police on a drugs charge.

The driver of the vehicle the gang were fleeing in, an illegal taxi driver in Patong, has not named by police and has yet to be charged with any offenses.

Police are still questioning him, but at this stage believe he is innocent in terms of the robbery.

He failed to stop at the police checkpoint while under duress from the thieves, it was explained.

Thongsak Chintakarnroek said that about 450 jewelry pieces have been returned, but 173 pieces remain missing.

“The missing pieces would be worth about 5 million baht,” he confirmed.

Commander Chonasit added that the gang are also suspected of a similar jewelry theft in Bangkok on April 29 this year.

“They have denied the charges, but they will be charged according to the evidence we have against them,” he said.

“We are still questioning Mr Gonzalez and Ms Abu Bakar as to the whereabouts of the missing jewelry,” the police commander added.

Mr Thongsak praised the quick action by the police.

“I really appreciate what the police have done. We are so lucky to get the jewelry back,” he said.

— Atchaa Khamlo


Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Crime14 hours ago

Court issues arrest warrant for Sia B’s father, the ‘real owner’ of Mountain B

Thailand14 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Tourism minister joins Full Moon Party on Koh PhaNgan

World15 hours ago

Monkeypox variants renamed to avoid offending people

Sponsored23 hours ago

British International School Phuket: Reflecting on 25 years of world-class education

Tourism15 hours ago

Thailand ranks as fourth most popular destination among Chinese travellers

Crime15 hours ago

Thailand sentences musician to 6 years for royal defamation

Central Thailand16 hours ago

Thai doctor slaps a 3 year old for swearing & refuses to treat him

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand16 hours ago

Thailand records fifth case of monkeypox in Thai woman

Guides16 hours ago

Why you should visit a wellness retreat in Thailand

Thailand17 hours ago

Govt take a trip to the shroom to help Thailand’s depressed

Chiang Mai17 hours ago

E. coli contamination found at popular waterfall in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand

Travel18 hours ago

Impressive beachfront hotels to book in Phuket

Crime18 hours ago

Thai temple man charged with murder of alleged would-be robber

Travel18 hours ago

5 incredible beaches in Phuket to visit in 2022

Travel18 hours ago

Board game cafes in Bangkok to unleash your competitive streak

Cannabis18 hours ago

Cannabis is illegal on Khao San Road, officials call for crackdown

Thailand11 months ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism1 year ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11