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Rawai crackdown nets two “road robbery’ suspects

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Rawai crackdown nets two “road robbery’ suspects | Thaiger

CHALONG: Chalong Police have charged two suspects for armed robbery following a spate of violent robberies on roads in Rawai in recent weeks, but the pair are not suspects in the killing of Norwegian Simen Knudsen last month.

The two suspects, identified as Itthipol “Ron” Chudam, 21, from Songkhla, and Boonkiet Chuchao, 18, of Nakhon Sri Thammarat, have denied any involvement in the road attacks.

Pol Lt Col Pachai Matthayan told the Gazette that the arrests followed many complaints by victims, both Thai and foreign, of being robbed at gun- and knife-point late at night by a pair of young men riding together on a motorbike.

One of the latest victims was a young woman who was riding her motorbike home past Don’s Mall on Saiyuan Rd late at night. She told police she was pushed off her motorbike and forced at knife- and gunpoint to hand over her bag, which contained about 10,000 baht in cash and important personal documents, Lt Col Pachai said.

The woman was able to describe both assailants, one of whom had shoulder-length hair and was wearing a black jacket.

Police stepped up patrols in the area, pulling over youths on motorcycles who matched descriptions given by victims and photographing them. From these, the most recent victim was able to identify her attackers, said Lt Col Pachai.

Police finally arrested Itthipol and Boonkiet about 8 pm last night in their rented quarters behind Wat Sawang-arom in Rawai, he said.

Lt Col Pachai urged other victims or people with information that may help in convicting the pair to report to Chalong Police Station.

He added that the search for the two suspects was led by Phuket City Police Inspector Lt Col Somkid Boonrat, who is leading the investigation into the stabbing murder of Norwegian Simen Knudsen on September 23.

Despite there being many similarities between that crime and subsequent attacks in the area, Lt Col Somkid today told the Gazette that the two are not suspects in the Knudsen case.

Lt Col Phachai said that although the pair have denied any involvement in the attacks, he is sure they are responsible for the attack on the woman who identified them as well as many other robberies.

“Even though the search of their room did not produce any physical evidence such as stolen money or weapons used in the attacks, we are sure it was them,” he said.

However, Lt Col Phachai added that the suspects have already claimed that police do not have enough evidence to for them to be convicted for any robberies.

One of the suspects, Boonkiet Chuchao, has already served a prison sentence in Nakhon Sri Thammarat for using ya bah, he said.

However, although the two have confessed to smoking a small amount of ya bah (methamphetamine) after police found trace evidence of the drug in their room, they have not been charged with using an illegal substance.

 

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

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