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Phuket hotel reimburses robbed Aussie tourists



PHUKET: The management of a Phuket hotel agreed to pay some 150,000 baht in compensation to an Australian couple who claimed their room safe was robbed of 255,000 baht.

Australian tourist Jim Nagi, 44, said he first noticed cash missing from the safe in his hotel room at the Andaman Beach Suites Hotel in Patong on December 8.

“At first, I thought I lost about 700 Australian dollars from the $A12,000 that was in the safe, but I wasn’t sure so I did not report it to the hotel,” he told the Phuket Gazette.

“Later, on Monday [December 12], I tried to open the safe with the combination code. I tried twice, but I couldn’t open it, so I went down to inform the receptionist, who used the master key to open the safe. That’s when we found that $A7,500 had gone,” he said.

He reported to theft to Patong Police that day, but had heard nothing since, he told the Gazette yesterday.

The couple, who checked in to the hotel on December 4, moved into another room the next day.

The hotel owner agreed to pay the Aussie tourists half the $A7,500 after meeting the couple yesterday morning.

Mr Nagi’s partner, Sharyna Wong, 30, said, “We first met the hotel manager on Saturday [December 10], and he implied that we made up the story so we could claim the money back on insurance. I explained to him that if we claimed this on insurance, we would get only $A250 back.

“Besides, we came here for a holiday. We don’t want to spend time making reports to the police and having discussions about this. It’s a waste of our time,” she said.

At yesterday’s meeting, Thuwanan Peanawan, director of rooms at the hotel, told Mr Nagi that the hotel management was “still not comfortable” with the incident and were questioning all staff, including maids and receptionists on duty around the time the money was reported stolen.

“It seems nobody knows anything about this,” he said.

However, one of the hotel receptionists told the Gazette, “Mr Nagi brought people from outside to stay in the room without our permission and we are not sure whether one of them stole his money.”

During the meeting, it was discovered that the hotel CCTV security camera installed on the floor where the couple was staying was “misaligned”.

“The CCTV camera was pointing too high. It could show the elevator doors opening and closing, but we couldn’t even see if any people were inside. Besides, the CCTV camera showed just a part of that floor. We could not see who was using the staircase,” Ms Wong told the Gazette.

As part of the agreement made yesterday, Mr Nagi, who paid for the hotel room in advance as part of a tour package, will pay only half of his room service charges and only half of all other extraordinary expenses added to his bill.

Mr Nagi told the hotel owner that although he was dispirited by the incident, he would be back to stay at the hotel next year. Ms Wong asked for the CCTV camera to be repositioned for better security.

The couple departed Phuket for Australia aboard a 6pm flight yesterday.

— Atchaa Khamlo


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