Bangkok taxi drivers arrested for rape, theft

Bangkok taxi drivers arrested for rape, theft

Drivers accused of targeting revellers

Taxi driver Jeerawat Singsoda apologises to robbery victims following his arrest in Bangkok's Bang Na district on charges of robbery. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
Taxi driver Jeerawat Singsoda apologises to robbery victims following his arrest in Bangkok's Bang Na district on charges of robbery. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

City police have arrested two taxi drivers who allegedly robbed and raped female passengers in Bangkok.

Police identified one suspect as Jeerawat Singsoda, 36, from Surin province who allegedly robbed female passengers in at least nine cases.

Another suspect is identified as Arkom Shinda, 39, a Khon Kaen native, who was accused of raping at least one female passenger.

They were brought before the media at the Metropolitan Police Bureau Sunday.

Mr Jeerawat was apprehended at SP Villa apartment in Soi Udomsuk in Bang Na district.

The arrest took place after a female passenger told police she was robbed by a taxi driver while boarding his taxi in Din Daeng district on Jan 10. She said the driver took her bag and 5,000 baht cash.

Pol Col Anek Praisri, chief of Din Daeng police station, said officers tracked the passenger's stolen credit card and found Mr Jeerawat had used the card five times at gas stations on Kalapapruek and Ratcha-phruek roads.

After examining CCTV camera footage from those stations, Mr Jeerawat was found driving a pink taxi carrying a Bangkok licence plate.

In the CCTV footage, Mr Jeerawat was also seen meeting Supachai Saenma, another taxi driver. Mr Supachai's account later led police to arrest Mr Jeerawat.

A silver necklace, a leather handbag, a silver ring, an ID card, cards from Police General Hospital and Yanhee Hospital and a Bangkok Bank ATM card, all belonging to the victim, were confiscated from his room.

Authorities also found a green polo shirt which matched that worn by the suspect seen in the CCTV footage and the victim's account.

After questioning, Mr Jeerawat allegedly confessed he targeted victims at entertainment venues in the Sukhumvit area as most victims were under the influence of alcohol so it was easy for him to rob them.

Mr Jeerawat said he would change the route and then pull over in a deserted and dark area. There, he forced passengers to hand over their valuables to him. He would then force his passengers out and drive away.

Pol Col Anek said earlier Mr Jeerawat committed the same crime nine times, adding he also faced a charge for fraud in Nakhon Pathom two months ago.

As for the alleged rape, police said the arrest of Mr Arkom came after a woman, whose name was withheld, filed a complaint that she was raped by a taxi driver on Wednesday night.

She said she went out to a party at a pub in Soi Nana in the Sukhumvit area that night and had too much to drink.

After the party, she got in the taxi and asked the driver to take her to the Phra Khanong area and she fell asleep shortly after. She woke up in a small hotel in Din Daeng area where she was allegedly raped by the taxi driver.

Following an investigation, police found Mr Arkom was the driver of the vehicle and sought an arrest warrant for him. Mr Arkom allegedly confessed to the crime, saying it was his first time.

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