Slipping through lax security at Klong Toey Port, the gang waylayed barges on their way to Chonburi, splitting the take on 300 to 500 bags with barge hands.
Read a previous Bangkok Post story from years ago that provides details on how river pirates steal from rice barges here.
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CARGO HEIST: New 'seal' gang confesses to stealing rice from boats by Sunthon Pongpao
AYUTTHAYA : Police yesterday arrested a gang spotted heisting goods from cargo barges anchored at Chao Phraya River ports in Ayutthaya and Ang Thong.
Police likened the 13 men and three women to a new generation of the so-called "seal" gang which was engaged in a similar activity several years ago.
The 16 suspects, a mix of Thais and Cambodians, were arrested yesterday in Ayutthaya. Police confiscated 260 50-kilogramme bags of milled rice destined for the Middle East, six pickup trucks, a long-tailed boat, a 9mm pistol with some bullets, and 28 ya ba pills.
They were all charged with theft, unauthorised weapons possession, and possession of a Type 1 narcotic.
Amnat Prasat, 40, who confessed to being the gang leader, said at a police press conference that his gang had originally operated mainly at the Klong Toey Port and another port in Phra Pradaeng district before security was tightened.
When stealing cargo became more difficult, the gang moved to Ayutthaya and Ang Thong, Mr Amnat said.
At the new locations, the gang typically made off with between 300 and 500 bags of milled rice, with the help of a worker who controlled the cargo barges, which would dock in the ports en route to Koh Si Chang in Chon Buri.
The gang would pull their own boat up to barges and move the rice on to their craft before racing off.
He said the gang had paid the worker between 300 and 400 baht per bag of rice to turn a blind eye to the theft. The gang would sell the bags of rice for 500 baht apiece
Mr Amnat said his gang had stolen rice from the cargo barges five times before they were caught red-handed yesterday, adding there were several similar gangs operating in the area.
(Source: Bangkok Post, CARGO HEIST, New 'seal' gang confesses to stealing rice from boats, 15/06/2011, Sunthon Pongpao, link)
cargo - goods carried from place to place (transported) in a truck, plane, train or boat สินคา้ที่บรรจุในตู้สินค้า
barge - a long flat boat for moving goods along rivers or canals เรือบรรทุก
rice barges - the long boats carrying rice one typically sees moving slowly down the Chao Phraya river past Bangkok
theft - (the act of) dishonestly taking something which belongs to someone else and keeping it การลักขโมย
charged with theft - legal case started against a person accused of committing a crime
robbery - the crime of stealing money or property from a bank, a shop or a vehicle (See Wikipedia)
pirates - a gang of robbers who steal from boats travelling on the sea or on a river (See Wikipedia)
waylay - stop a person, a ship, or a truck when they are traveling somewhere, attack them, steal from them (also sometimes means: talk with someone and delay them)
split the take - when criminals divide the money and things they have stolen amongst themselves
barge hands - workers on barges
heist (noun, verb) - a robbery (especially money, jewellery or art)
cargo heist (noun) - the act of stealing cargo from a stuck, train or boat
Koh Si Chang - a small island with a population of about 5,000 off the coast of Chon Buri near Bangkok (See Wikipedia)
security - the measures and actions taken to protect a place, making it safe and protecting it from harm (and make sure that people who enter have permission to enter)
tight security - increased number of guards around a place (to make it safer and less dangerous)
lax security - decreased number of guards around a place (less safe and more dangerous)
slip through - avoiding security (example: the thieves slipped through the tight security system and stole the jewel from right under their noses)
confesses - admits that you have done something wrong or something that you feel gilty or bad about สารภาพผิด
confess to a crime - officially say to the police the police that you were the criminal who committed a crime, admit guilt in a crime
anchor (noun) - a heavy metal object thrown from a boat underwater to park the boat and prevent it from floating away สมอเรือ
anchored (verb) - when a boat is parked (heavy anchor under water prevents from floating away)
gang - a group of criminals who work together planning and doing crimes แก๊ง, กลุ่มโจร
spotted - seen; noticed ปรากฏให้เห็น
port - an area of water where ships stop, including the buildings around it ท่าเรือ'
likened X to Y - said X were similar to Y, X almost the same as Y เปรียบเสมือน
generation - a group of people in society who are born and live around the same time รุ่น (คนรุ่นต่างๆ)
so-called X - X is the name that the public has given them (the name that the public knows them by)
engaged in an activity - doing an activity
suspects - people who may have committed the crime, identified by the police ผู้ต้องสงสัย
confiscated - officially took away someone's possessions for legal reasons or as a punishment ยึดทรัีพย์ ถูกยึด ยึด ริบทรัพย์ หรือสินค้า
milled rice - rice that has been prepared and packaged in bags for selling in a store
long-tailed boat - the Thai boat with long propeller in back commonly used in Thai rivers and canals เรือหางยาว
pistol - a small gun that you hold in one hand ปืนพก,ปืนสั้น
unauthorised - without having permission to do something ที่ไม่ได้รับอนุญาต
possession - having or owning something การครอบครอง
unauthorised weapons possession - the crime of carrying a gun without a license (official permission from the government)
narcotic - illegal drugs
narcotics possession - the crime of having illegal drugs (in your pockets, at home, etc)
press - newspapers and magazines, and those parts of television and radio which broadcast news, or reporters and photographers who work for them สื่อมวลชน
press conference - an official meeting called by a company, organization or government to give information about something important to the media, also called "news conference" (See Wikipedia)
typically - usually; normally อย่างเป็นแบบฉบับ
made off with - stole
dock - to arrived at an enclosed area of water in a port, where ships stay ท่าเรือ
route - the way that planes, buses, trains, or ships travel regularly เส้นทางของรถ เรือ เครื่องบิน,etc.
en route to - while traveling to
pull up to - approach a place (example: the ambulance pulled up to the entrance of the hospital to pick up the patient)
racing off - moving away from a place quickly
craft - a boat or plane (here: a barge)
blind - unable to see ตาบอด
turn a blind eye to - pretending that you don't see something or know something is happening; ignore the truth
caught red-handed - caught while doing a crime; people see person doing something bad (such as a crime)
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