CHON BURI: Police have arrested seven alleged members of a gang who tied up and robbed a wealthy Chinese businessman and his Thai wife rumoured to keep up to 400 million baht in their Pattaya house, but found only 700,000 baht in cash and valuables.
Police have arrest warrants for nine suspects, issued by the Pattaya Provincial Court on charges of armed robbery and illegal detention, Pol Lt Col Itthiphol Itthisarnronnachai, commissioner of Provincial Police 2, said during a media briefing on Wednesday.
Seven of the suspects had been arrested.
Police seized the clothing they were believed to have worn during the robbery as evidence, and impounded a Toyota Fortuner, a Toypta Yaris, a BMW, an MG sedan, one red Bangkok licence plate, some stolen gold jewellery, rounds of ammunition and 5,000 baht cash.
The seven suspects were named as Soranan Prathueng, Suthep Thoophom, Ekkachai Nim-anong, Phttarawat Thammarak, Krisada Meethom, Nareunart Chuchit and Akkhaphan Phupa.
All were allegedly involved in the robbery at the couple’s house in Bang Lamung district of Chon Buri.
A group of armed men entered a house at Pattaya Land & House housing estate in tambon Nong Prue of Bang Lamung district about 8.14am on Dec 11. The house belonged to a Chinese businessman and his Thai wife. The intruders tied up the couple, binding their hands and legs, and forced them to open a safe. They fled with 700,000 in cash and valuables.
Police investigators determined that there were nine robbers, all men, and obtained court arrest warrants.
During questioning, the seven suspects allegedly admitted being hired by gang leaders identified only as Toon, Muek and Jo, to rob the couple.
They were told it was believed the couple kept 200-400 million baht cash in their house. They were offered 15 million baht as their share of the loot, the suspects said.
They then plotted the robbery. They posed as police and asked to examine the couple’s assets. After entering the house, they robbed them.
Instead of a huge fortune, they found only 700,000 baht in the house. They fled into hiding in Sa Kaeo and Chachoengsao provinces after dividing up the proceeds of the robbery.
Police said they would hunt down the other suspects and the gang leaders and their accomplices.
The names of the two victims were not released.
Clothes allegedly worn by the suspects during the robbery, and other seized items. (Photo: Chaiyot Pupattanapong)
Some of the stolen jewellery reovered from the alleged thieves. (Photo: Chaiyot Pupattanapong)