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Region 8 Police join manhunt for gold shop robber

Region 8 Police join manhunt for gold shop robber

PHUKET: Region 8 Police have now joined the investigation and the manhunt for the robber wanted for the vicious attack on a 71-year-old owner of a gold shop in Phuket Town on Saturday night (Oct 24).

By Eakkapop Thongtub

Tuesday 26 October 2021, 11:54AM

UPDATE: Region 8 Police Commander Region 8 Police Commander Pol Lt Gen Amphol Buarabporn held a press conference on Thursday, Oct 28, where he confirmed, corrected and clarified many details previously reported about the robbery and arrest. See story here.

Officers from Region 8 Police at the northern end of the island, led by Deputy Commander Region 8 Police Pol Maj Gen Wanchai Ekkapornphit, have joined the efforts to catch teh perpetrator, with Lt Col Somporn Boonma, Deputy Chief of Investigation at Region 8 Police spearheading the actual investigation.

Of note, Region 8 Police are responsible for overseeing Provincial Police operations in the seven Upper Southern Thailand provinces, including Phuket, Phang Nga, Krabi, Surat Thani (including Koh Samui) and Chumphon.

The manhunt was launched after 71-year-old gold shop owner Wangdee Inthawong was repeatedly struck heavily on the head by a piece of wood at his home in Phuket Town last Saturday night (Oct 23).

Police were notified of the attack at about 11:30pm.

The attack occurred at the Thong Thaweechai gold shop on Ranong Rd in Phuket Town, where husband-and-wife shop owners Mr Wangdee and his wife, Puangpen Sakkasemkrit, 65, lived upstairs.

When police arrived at the scene late last Saturday night, blood was smeared across the floor in the main room in the home, where Mr Wangdee had fought his attacker.

The couple were asleep in the bedroom on the second floor when they were woken by the robber, who threatened them and told the husband to open the safe on the ground floor, he said.

The robber had entered the home by climbing onto the roof of the house and breaking through the bathroom ceiling on the second floor.

Threatened by the stranger standing in his bedroom, Mr Wangdee refused to open the safe. A fight ensued and carried into the adjoining room, where the robber beat Mr Wangdee repeatedly with a piece of wood. Mr Wangdee suffered several head injuries in the attack.

PKF Thailand

After suffering a heavy beating and fearful for his wife also being beaten, Mr Wangdee finally relented and gave the key to the safe to the robber, who proceeded downstairs and stole many items of gold from in the safe. The robber fled through the second-floor side door of the shop, police have now confirmed.

Police have also now confirmed that the robber made off with gold items valued at more than B8 million.

Mr Wangdee told police that he believed the robber was a Myanmar man from listening to his accent when he spoke.

Mr Wangdee luckily escaped serious injury in the attack. He received first aid at the scene from rescue workers and was later taken to hospital for further treatment.

After police and first-responder rescue workers attended the scene late last Saturday night, investigators arrived last Sunday afternoon (Oct 24) to inspect the area behind the gold shop and check CCTV footage from the area. The gold shop is located near the busy market area on Ranong Rd, just west of the Suriyadej Circle.

Investigators reported that the robber fled the gold shop through a side door and is believed to have escaped past an abandoned building with overgrown vegetation behind the gold shop.

Officers found a red mask in the long grass, which they took for further investigation.

From CCTV footage inside the gold shop, officers noted that the robber was wearing black Aerosoft branded shoes, costing about B300.

The robber is also seen carrying the piece of wood and brandishing a large knife, which was not used in the fight with Mr Wangdee.

However, police have yet to reveal any substantial leads in catching the robber. The investigation and the manhunt continues.

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