CHONBURI – A former convict pardoned earlier this month was arrested yesterday for robbing a foreign tourist in the resort town of Pattaya, police say.
The 24-year-old Russian woman notified police around 3am and said a Thai man stole her purse while she was sitting and drinking beer on Jomtien beach.
Police officers later found a man who matched her description and was carrying cash and a mobile phone that belonged to the Russian tourist, Pol.Maj. Saranyapong Maithongkul said.
The suspect, identified as Narong Chanrasmi, said he approached the tourist, pretended to make a toast with her, and snatched her bag after she let her guard down. Narong, 21, also said he hired a motorcycle taxi to flee the scene and threw the purse away in Soi 1 after emptying its contents.
Narong was pardoned from serving a prison term for theft on the occasion of Her Royal Highness Princess Sirindhorn's 60th birthday, April 3 2015. He said he has struggled to find work because of his prison record, and decided to steal from the tourist to make ends meet.
Pattaya, a coastal resort town east of Bangkok, is notorious for its red light district and high crime rate.
Several hours prior to the incident, police also received a report that a Thai man attempted to steal a purse from a Chinese tourist in North Pattaya. According to police, the man approached the victim on a motorcycle, kicked her down, and tried to steal her bag, but the tourist shouted for help and fought him off. The suspect reportedly fled the scene when several bystanders ran to help the tourist.