Phuket man denies role in BKK heist

PHUKET: The owner of a car rental company in Rawai has presented himself to Metropolitan Police in Bangkok, saying he had no role in the 12-million-baht robbery outside a bank in downtown Bangkok on Friday.

Soon after learning that one of his vehicles had been used in the heist, 44-four-year-old Wichian Choochum of Rawai Village 1 turned himself in to Metropolitan Police Division 5 Commander Anuchai Lekbamroong in Bangkok.

Mr Wichian confessed to owning the Toyota sedan used to carry out the heist, through his company, Phuket Palm Travel and Tour.

He presented evidence including the company’s 2008-issued registration papers as well as a fake Spanish passport used by the suspects to rent the vehicle.

Mr Wichian said he rented out the car through an agent for a weekly fee of 7,500 baht.

The agent, on May 4, delivered the vehicle to a foreign man staying at the Lamai Hotel near Jungceylon on Rat-U-Thit 200 Pi Road in Patong, he said.

Mr Wichian said he never met the man face-to-face, but had spoken over the phone to confirm receipt of weekly 7,500 baht payments into his account from locations in Bangkok and Pattaya.

His only other communication with the man was by instant messaging, he said.

However, members of Mr Wichian’s staff who met the foreign man renting the vehicle have positively identified him as the same person who appeared in CCTV images taken near the scene of the crime.

Mr Wichian said he was shocked when he heard about the bank robbery via a text message.

Police are speeding up the investigation, gathering physical evidence and questioning witnesses in order to get arrest warrants for the responsible parties.

Police suspect members of a Colombian gang to be responsible, Bangkok-based media have reported.

Investigators will review old case files in search of other cases the gang might have been involved with. Nevertheless, they feel they already have enough evidence to arrest the suspects and bring them to justice, Gen Anuchai said.

— Nation Channel

Phuket News

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