A man who made off with gold ornaments worth over one million baht in a gold shop robbery in Pattaya before fleeing to South Korea has been arrested after almost one year on the run.
Sunthorn Pinnak, 33, who was number 50 on a police blacklist with a bounty of 80,000 baht on his head and was wanted under an Interpol Red Notice for robbery, was arrested in Taean-gun of Chungcheongnam-do province, South Korea, on Sept 7. A team of Thai police flew to South Korea to extradite the suspect back to Thailand on Sept 18, said Pol Maj Gen Itthiporn Phorthong, deputy chief of Police Region 2.
The arrest followed the robbery at the Aurora gold shop at Lotus's in Pattaya on the night of Nov 9 last year.
A lone man walked into the shop and asked to see a three-baht-weight of a gold necklace. He then wandered around the shop several times before suddenly pulling out a gun to threaten the shop employees. He swiftly swept gold ornaments from two trays and fled with 34-baht-weight of gold, worth 1.07 million baht, said Pol Maj Gen Itthiporn said.
Police examined over 150 surveillance cameras along a 210-kiometre escape route. The officers gathered evidence regarding the weapon used by the suspect and other clues that led to the thief's identity.
The investigation found that the suspect had fled to South Korea on Dec 8, and his visa had expired on March 8. He had been working illegally in Pocheon town.
The investigation team then sought cooperation from Interpol to issue a Red Notice for his arrest. The investigators worked closely with Thai officers based in South Korea, Interpol and South Korean police. They managed to arrest the suspect, who had been working as a hired hand at a chemical-free vegetable garden in Chungcheongnam-do.
During questioning, Mr Sunthorn admitted that he had tried to evade arrest to escape punishment.
He was brought back to Thailand to face charges related to the gold shop robbery.