The bus driver, Sucha Khaosaard, and the two staff, Somchai Tohmard and Samart Chimplee, were arrested at 4:30pm by Phang Nga Provincial Police led by Col Chotipong Ketsarin during a routine check at a checkpoint in Takuapa.
Col Chotipong explained, “While we conducted a routine check on the bus, a pickup truck pulled up. The driver, Bumrung chanbumrung and his passenger Peter De Balabander from Belgium, who was one of the passengers on the bus, asked us for help.
“Mr De Balabander asked us to question the bus driver and bus staff because he suspected someone had stolen the money out of his bag while he was on board. He said that he realised the money was missing from his bag after he got off the bus at Khao Sok and about to pay his taxi fare.
Col Chotipong continued, “Both driver and two staff denied said they seen nothing. We searched the bus and discovered three bundles of kratom leaves, together weighing about about 100 grammes, on the shelf above the driver’s seat.”
“Then Samark started acted suspiciously so officer asked him to get off the bus. Upon searching his person, officers found euro banknotes worth B3,040 and a futher B4,000 in Thai banknotes in his back pocket.
Sucha, Somchai and Samart were taken to Talad Yai Police Station in Phang Nga to face possession of a Category 5 drug (kratom) and theft.