Moved to Pity, Tuk-Tuk Hero Gives Reward to Thief

Tuk-tuk driver Withoon Wattanakijjakul explains why he decided to give his cash reward for bravery to the thief he chased down to recover a tourist's handbag.

CHIANG MAI — Being a hero one time over wasn’t enough for Chiang Mai tuk-tuk driver Withoon Wattanakijjakul.

When police handed a cash reward to Withoon yesterday for wrestling a tourist's purse back from a thief half his age, Withoon immediately handed the money over to the young thief out of pity.

“I want him to buy the milk for his daughter,” Withoon said.

Read: Tuk-Tuk Takes Down Thief for Tourist


Thanawat Saensuwan, 23, apologized to all of Chiang Mai yesterday for damaging the city’s reputation when he snatched a visiting woman’s handbag from her bicycle this past Thursday, prompting Withoon to give chase. Thanawat escaped, but security footage of his motorcycle license plate led police to arrest him on Sunday.

“I stole from the tourist out of momentary emotion,” Thanawat said. “I wanted the money to buy things and milk for my daughter. She’s only a year and three months old.”

That’s when police then gave 2,000 baht and a certificate to Withoon for his bravery in coming to the tourist’s rescue. Withoon thanked them and then handed the money over to Thanawat, saying that he is moved to pity upon hearing Thanawat’s story.

Chiang Mai police added they have increased patrols at tourist destinations night to “build confidence” among Chinese tourists.



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