PATONG: American tourist Stanley Olchowski’s holiday in Phuket nearly came to an abrupt end when he left his waist pouch on the 5:30 pm bus from Patong to Phuket Town on Thursday. In the pouch were US$2,700 (about 100,000 baht), 11,480 baht and his passport. Mr Olchowski, 48, promptly contacted the Tourist Police. Pol Cpl Surin Pitpan was dispatched to track down the bus, and find the waist pouch. “It was good that he reported the loss to us quickly, that he could remember where he had left it, and that he was able to describe the bus and everything. That made it easy for us to find the driver,” said Cpl Surin. The corporal first went to the Patong Merlin Hotel on Rat-U-Thit Rd, the start of the bus route. There, he spoke to members of a local motorbike taxi group, one of whom happened to know who the driver of the 5:30 pm bus to Phuket Town was. The motorbike taxi driver added that the driver lived in Kamala and that he was probably on his way to return the bus to its garage in Patong. At the garage, Cpl Surin found the bus driver, Manop Ploykao, 37. In the glove compartment of the bus was a waist pouch that fitted the description given by Mr Olchowski. Manop later told the police that he was not the one who had found the pouch; it had been given to him by a passenger. He was planning to take it to the nearest police station after finishing his shift. By 7 pm – less than 90 minutes after he lost it – Mr Olchowski was once again in possession of the pouch, its contents intact. He rewarded K. Manop with 5,000 baht for his honesty.
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