Phuket City Police arrested the three men – named as Ya Lin Naing, 18; Kyaw Kyam Phyo, 22, and Aung Myat Zaw, 19 – at a workers’ camp near Wat Khao Rang Samakkhitham on Rang Hill at 7:30pm last night (May 1).
At the camp the officers also seized the getaway motorbike used in the theft, which officers tracked after security CCTV footage at the temple recorded the thieves fleeing the scene. (See story here.)
All three men confessed to the theft, but said that they did so only to buy food as all three had no money.
All three also apologised for their act and to all Buddhists they may have offended.
From inspecting the temple last Saturday, police found evidence that some attempt was made to reach the Buddha image that resides in the temple’s main shrine.
The gold in the parasol positioned above the Buddha image is alone estimated to be worth nearly B800,000, not including the precious stones the Buddha image receptacle features.
However, for reasons not yet explained, the thieves abandoned their attempts and fled the temple without disturbing the Buddha image.
Police confirmed that all three men had been charged with theft, and that they were continuing to question the suspects for more information.