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Police nab 7-Eleven Gang



PHUKET CITY: Police have rounded up a seven-member gang – three of them women – in connection with armed robberies of four 7-Eleven convenience stores over a five-day period, starting last Friday (October 21).

Four of the gang were paraded before the press and identified as Jarin Tunrat, 26; Rungrudee Kaewchu, 27; Monya Lao-ngam, 18; and Komsan Pornlert, 27. All are from Trang Province.

The other three suspects not presented to the media were identified as Trang natives Decha Ketthong, 27; Anutawat Kreangsong, 27; and 32-year-old Suda Boonkaew of Krabi. Police said they were kept away from the cameras in order not to jeopardize an investigation into other crimes they may have committed, including murder.

All of the suspects have already confessed to having been involved in one or more of the holdups, police said.

The gang’s arrest followed an October 25 complaint to the Thalang Police by Pranee Petrat, 46, who provided a description of two thieves who snatched two gold chains from around her neck earlier that day.

Using that description, Thalang Police managed to track down and arrest the first two gang members, Decha and Anuthawat, as they were riding a motorcycle along Baan Lipon Rd in Thalang at around 6 pm on Tuesday.

They were found to have had a large number of mobile phone top-up cards in their possession and, during questioning, admitted involvement in the 7-Eleven robberies. They led police to room 110 of the Sapam Inn, on Thepkrasattri Rd, where the other five gang members were hiding out.

Police confiscated as evidence a shotgun allegedly used in the holdups, along with two shotgun cartridges.

The total value of the goods and merchandise stolen by the gang during the five-day crime spree was estimated by police at 100,000 baht, much of it in the form of top-up cards for mobile phones, Internet connection services and on-line gaming. They also seized 21 packs of LM brand cigarettes allegedly stolen by the gang.

The locations of the 7-Eleven shops robbed were listed as:

October 21– On Rassadanusorn Rd, opposite the Tambon Rassada Administration Organization offices;

October 23– On Chao Fa West Rd, near Ko Kang Restaurant;

October 23– On Thepkrasattri Rd, opposite the Mission Hospital; and

October 25– On the Phuket Rajabhat University access road.

At the press conference on Wednesday, Phuket Provincial Commander Pol Maj Gen Decha Budnampeth said that the arrests demonstrated the effectiveness of the provincial police force, and added that the investigation into the gang’s other criminal activities was continuing.

He noted that none of the gang members was a Phuket native. “Phuket’s tourism economy makes it a magnet for criminals from other provinces,” he said.

All seven suspects are being held in police custody on charges of violating Section 340 of the penal code, which covers armed “gang-robbery”. If found guilty by a court, they face 12 to 20 years in jail and a fine of between 24,000 and 40,000 baht.


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