Phuket Provincial Police Chief Maj Gen Rungrote Thakurapunyasiri announced the arrests at Phuket Provincial Police Station in Phuket Town late yesterday afternoon (Nov 12).
Sofian Aba, 25, from Yala, was arrested in Koh Kaew on Tuesday morning, while Munaddeedee Doloh, 27, from Narathiwat, was arrested in Thapae District, in Satun province, on Monday night, Gen Rungrote explained.
Sofian and Munaddee last Thursday (Nov 7) entered the home of 72-year-old German national Wilhelm Schrei in Moo Baan Srisuchat 3, located off the bypass road, Gen Rungrote said.
“The two suspects were wearing gloves and covered their heads. With weapons, a knife, they broke into the house and detained the victims, forcing them to hand over property,” he said.
“But there was a fight causing injury to the victim. The accused then waited until his wife, Ms Juthaporn Chudam, to return to the house.
“They forced Ms Juthaporn to hand over property (sic), namely ATM cards and the codes so they could withdraw money, and then made their escape,” he added.
Gen Rungrote explained that Ms Juthaporn was forced to hand over about B2,000 in cash and the ATM cards.
However, the criminals were later able to withdraw only B5,100 from the accounts as the rest of the money by that time had already been transferred.
Gen Rungroj pointed out, “The victim is a foreigner living in retirement in Phuket. When this happened, having fought with criminals, he suffered minor injuries and was admitted to the hospital.
“The Tourist Police provided care and co-ordinated [with the victim], and morale has improved to normal.”
Mr Schrei suffered a 12cm wound on his left arm from trying to fight off the attackers. (See original report here.)
Gen Rungrote also noted, “On the day of the incident, the victim successfully transferred money into another account, allowing the criminals to withdraw only B3,000.”
The pair, arrested on warrants issued by Phuket Provincial Court, now face charges of joint robbery committed with the use of weapons, causing others to suffer physical or mental harm, using vehicle to commit a crime and carrying weapons in a public place, Gen Rungrote said.
Of note, presented at the press conference yesterday was a machete seized as evidence in the robbery.
In the initial report to police, Ms Juthaporn reported that one man was brandishing a 70cm blade and the other held a 30cm knife, which was not mentioned yesterday.
However, the two suspects had never before been recorded of committing a crime, Gen Rungrote noted.
“The motivation for the crime was that the offenders are unemployed,” he said.
“One suspect was bartender in Patong, but the venue has shut down, leaving him without work, and the other was a security guard. His contract ended, leaving him unemployed,” he added.
“The Commander of Region 8 Police ordered the arrest of the perpetrators of this crime as soon as possible as Phuket is an important tourist province. We must prevent such occurrences in tourist areas,” Gen Rungrote said.
“I hope this will be the last crime that anything like this happens to tourists.” he said.