More Arrests Sought in 197 Million Yen Heist

Perpetrators lead police through a “crime re-enactment” Friday morning in the parking lot at the Ratchada Pavilion condominium.

BANGKOK — Five men accused of stealing a large amount of Japanese currency from two businessmen were taken to a parking lot Friday morning where they led police through a ritual “re-enactment” of their alleged crime.

The re-enactment at the Ratchada Pavilion condo in Bangkok’s Chatuchak district came after a fifth suspect was arrested Thursday afternoon. The five men are accused of beating and mugging two businessmen for JPY198 million (58.6 million baht) in cash on Monday.

“And at the time you really did this to him? Exactly like that?” Lt. Col. Chaliang Inthip said Friday morning while laughing while a suspect tied the hands of a policeman lying on the ground behind the officer. “Show me exactly how. And then what did you do next?”

Read: 4 Arrested in 197 Million Yen Robbery Case

Police often take the lead in establishing what happened during such re-enactments by asking leading questions, and they’ve been criticized for violating suspects’ right to due process.

Narongchai Sawatdiphol, 32; Chawalit Charoenphol, 31; Surasak Sritawong, 35; Pongsak Pitsiripan, 31; and Krissada Atthawet, 30, were all arrested Thursday and charged with armed robbery, assault, receiving stolen property and relevant firearms violations.

Of the nearly 198 million yen stolen from Kiatiphong Phungyim and Jiraphat Phitakkijawattana, all but one million yen has been recovered, police said.

Maj. Gen. Sompong Chittduang said Friday that the alleged perpetrators said they were promised 500,000 baht for mugging the pair.

At least four other suspects are wanted by police.

Srayuth Lithichainuwat, the suspected getaway driver, would turn himself in today, his lawyer said. Three other arrest warrants have been issued.

Soon after the crime happened, police expressed confidence they would catch the perpetrators. Narongchai, one of those in custody, had flown in from Japan and delivered the money to the two victims.

Perpetrators lead police through a “crime re-enactment” Friday morning in the parking lot at the Ratchada Pavilion condominium.
National police chief Chakthip Chaijinda, speaking at center, presents the evidence and cash recovered by police at a Thursday news conference.
Narongchai Sawatdiphol, 32, is led by police into custody Thursday.

Police with the five arrested men Thursday.

Related stories:

4 Arrested in 197 Million Yen Robbery Case

Jai Yen Na: Case of Japanese Cash Heist Not Difficult, Police Say

Thief Holds Up Jewelry Merchants for 197 Million Yen: Police

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Asaree Thaitrakulpanich can be reached at asaree@khaosodenglish.com and followed on Twitter at @Asaree.