Tourist thefts: Tour operators arrested

Tourist thefts: Tour operators arrested

A married couple who run a tour bus business have been arrested in Bangkok on charges of stealing from their customers, a report said on Wednesday.

The suspects were identified as the owners of Sugar Travel -- Sarawoot Saipanya, 41, and Chanika Saipanya, 35.

Police apprehended the husband at a condo in Dusit area and his wife at the company's office in Chana Songkram area. 

Chief of the tourist police division, Pol Maj Gen Roy Ingpairoj, said there had been many complaints from tourists that their valuables had been stolen while they were travelling on a "Saipanya Tour" bus. The total value of the lost items was around 700,000 baht.

He said police found that the bus belonged to Sugar Travel. They began watching it and then made the arrests.

Mr Sarawoot and Ms Chanika told police they own two tour buses and had been taking tourists on round-trips from Khaosan Road in Bangkok to Koh Chang island in Trat province for over a year.

The pair allegedly admitted they waited at places where the tour buses would stop and sneaked into the lower luggage compartments through hidden doors they had customised in advance.

They would then get off at a later rest stop and catch a taxi back to the city with their loot.

They said they used stolen cash and payment cards to purchase brand name goods. 

Police who raided their home and office seized 10 pairs of shoes, three items of clothing, four expensive pens and cash in various currencies.

Police charged the couple with conspiracy to steal.

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