Robbers make off with ¥197m from gems sale

Robbers make off with ¥197m from gems sale

Armed men assaulted and robbed two employees of a jewellery firm of ¥197-million cash (about 60 million baht) on the fifth floor of the car park at a high-rise condominium in Bangkok’s Chatuchak district late on Monday night.

The holdup at the Ratchada Pavilion condominium on Soi Ratchadapisek 30 in Chankasem area of Chatuchak district occurred around 11.20pm, Thai media reported on Tuesday.

Pattharit Taerattanachai, 34, executive of G&G Stones Co, told Phahon Yothin police the robbers made off with ¥197.96 million in cash from the sale of jewellery in Japan. Two of his staff were assaulted, Kitipong Puengyim and JIrapat Pitakkitjawat, and the thieves drove away with one of the two vehicles driven by the victims.

Mr Pattharit said his younger brother Suwit Taerattanachai and employee Narongchai Sawatpol had taken jewellery to Japan for sale to clients on Sept 30.  Mr Narongchai's flight arrived back at Suvarnabhumi airport at 9.30pm on Monday. Mr Suwit remained in Japan on business.

Mr Kittipong and Mr Jirapat were sent to the airport to meet Mr Narongchai, who handed them a travel bag containing ¥197.96 million from the sale. The money had been declared to customs.

Mr Jirapat then travelled in a BMW with the bag to deliver it to Mr Pattharit at Ratcha Pavilion condominium. Mr Kittipong drove ahead of him in a Ford pickup truck. When they arrived in the condominium car park, they were held up at gunpoint by five men wearing black woollen hats that covered their faces.

The robbers assaulted the pair, tied their hands and feet and put fertiliser sacks over their heads. They then took the bag containing the cash and fled in Mr Kittipong’s pickup.

Pol Lt Gen Charnthep Sesavet, acting chief of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, on Tuesday ordered a hunt for the robbers and instructed investigators to check with financial institutions for any unusual exchange of yen currency.

The owner of the money told police he had been running the jewellery business for five years and had no conflict with anyone.

The acting city police chief suspected the robbery was an inside job, as details of the delivery of the money to the condominium were known to only a few people at the firm, Thai media reported.

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