The man is about 168cm tall, has grey hair and is estimated to be about 60 years old, Patong Police Deputy Chief Lt Col Nikorn Chuthong explained to The Phuket News today.
“We have no clue what nationality he is,” Col Nikorn said.
The man was last seen at the currency exchange booth wearing a purple polo shirt, blue jeans and black cap.
Police have checked hotels in the area and contacted police stations across the island, and Phuket Immigration, but have yet to develop any leads in determining the man’s whereabouts, Col Nikorn said.
“Investigators have checked CCTV in the area and collected what evidence we have, and filed a request for an arrest warrant to be issued by the Phuket Provincial Court, but we still do not know the man’s name or where he was staying.
“We have distributed photos and a description of the man to hotels around Phuket, and we have asked for coordination from hotel operators and money exchange counters in Patong to inform us if they have any information about this man, but so far we have had no replies to our request,” he added.
The man had visited the booth several times before Tuesday, when he disappeared with the $30,000 dollars cash in US banknotes, Col Nikorn explained.
“He exchanged Thai baht to US dollars at the exchange booth on Oct 12 and Oct 13 (last Saturday and Sunday),” Col Nikorn said.
It was always small amounts, he added, noting that the amounts did not prompt staff at the exchange booth to obtain a copy of the man’s passport in order to make the exchange.
“This might have led the exchange counter staff to trust this man,” Col Nikorn noted.
The man arrived at the booth again at about 1pm on Tuesday, saying that he had B900,000 cash to exchange.
“He said he wanted to check that the booth had enough US banknotes to exchange for the Thai baht,” Col Nikorn said.
The staff at the counter allowed the man to count US banknotes himself, he added.
“After he finished counting the money, he put the US banknotes into a white envelope, which he then put into a satchel he was carrying, which the staff then placed behind the counter,” Col Nikorn explained.
“The man left saying that he was going back to his hotel to get the Thai baht to be exchanged, but he never returned,” he said.
“The staff waited until 3pm, and starting to suspect something was wrong, they checked the envelope in the satchel to find that it contained only pieces of white paper and two US$100 banknotes.
“The US$30,000 was gone, and they quickly called the Patong Police,” he added.
“We believe that the man is still in Phuket. All other police stations on the island, as well as the Tourist Police and Immigration officers, have all been notified to find him in order to prevent him from fleeing the country,” Col Nikorn said.