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Phuket Police turn down bribe, arrest Aussies



PHUKET: Two Australian tourists were given a stern lecture and a second chance by Phuket police after the two allegedly tried to bribe police officers to drop theft charges against them.

The Aussies, named by police only as 21-year-old Maurice and 25-year-old John Jo Han, were arrested early this morning for shoplifting 10 sport jerseys from a shop on Bangla Road last night.

“Once we apprehended the men and they confessed to the theft, one of them offered us 140,000 baht in cash to forget the incident,” said Patong Police Inspector Sutthichai Tianpho.

“I told them to keep their money, and asked if they would be able to get away with bribing police in their own country.”

Lt Col Sutthichai charged the Aussies with theft, but chose not to charge them for attempted bribery.

“We did not add attempted bribery to their charges, as they are young and perhaps weren’t thinking clearly when they offered the money to us,” he said.

“We were sympathetic this time, as the crime they were arrested for wasn’t very serious. However, next time, we won’t be. Anyone who tries to bribe a police officer will have to face the consequences of their actions.”

The penalty for attempting to bribe an officer is up to five years in prison, a fine of up to 10,000 baht or both.

The Aussies were caught early this morning after a Bangla Road shop owner, who police declined to name, notified officers of a theft in her store.

“The shop owner said that the two men came in as normal customers, but left without paying for the jerseys,” said Col Sutthichai.

“We checked the shop’s CCTV footage and saw Maurice lifting the jerseys from the shop. He then handed one of the shirts to John and they both walked out.”

Police scoured the streets of Patong looking for the two men, but to no avail. Later, the shop owner spotted the Aussies walking on Patong’s beachfront road and notified police.

Officers were then able to track down the men at their hotel on Phra Metta Road.

“After we showed hotel staff a picture of the men, we were led to their room. We found the pair inside, and the shop owner identified them as the thieves,” Col Suttichai said.

“The stolen jerseys were lying on the bed.”

— Chutharat Plerin


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