Taxi driver stole B1m watch from drunk Japanese passenger

Taxi driver stole B1m watch from drunk Japanese passenger

A 44-year-old taxi driver was arrested on Monday morning for allegedly driving around for hours waiting for a drunk Japanese passenger to doze off, and then stealing his million baht wristwatch.

Pol Col Pansa Amarapitak, chief of Bangkok's Thong Lor station, said the driver, identified only as Boonlert, was arrested on a charge of night theft.

A drunk Japanese businessman hailed his taxi for a one-kilometre ride to his accommodation on Soi Thong Lor 13 Road on the night of Dec 17. The passenger told police his watch was missing when he woke up about 5am on Dec 18.

From CCTV footage, police learned that the man's taxi roamed the streets for about two-and-a-half hours before dropping him off at his destination.

The driver initially denied the crime. According to police, he later confessed after investigators found out he used his mobile phone to send a picture of the stolen watch to his lover and search the internet for information about the watch make.

He also received a money transfer of 330,000 baht from a watch buyer.

The driver allegedly admitted that he saw and wanted the beautiful watch and then drove around waiting for his drunk passenger to sleep.  He then took him to his destination, removed the watch from his passenger's wrist, woke him up and let him get out of the taxi.

Police retrieved the watch from the buyer and returned it to the owner, Pol Col Pansa said.

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