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Guilty or innocent, Phuket Prison is no holiday destination

Phuket Airport Luggage Theft: Expat in Prison

Sunday, July 25, 2010
A FRENCH tourist accused of stealing from another traveller's hand-luggage at Phuket International Airport remains in Phuket Prison. The man, arrested at 9.30pm on July 5, continues to maintain his innocence.

According to Tachatchai Police, who handle serious matters that arise at the airport, what happened was this:

The man approached the scanning machine at the entrance to the Departures concourse at the airport. He was in the line behind a Thai man.

The Thai man forgot a piece of hand-luggage. He walked away, and the Frenchman picked it up.

The Frenchman carried the bag to the toilets, went through the contents, removed 9800 baht in cash and an expensive telephone, then left the bag in the toilets.

Meanwhile, the Thai man realised he had left the piece of luggage, and returned to the scanning machine, raising the alarm.

About the same time, a woman went to security officials and told them that she had been sitting on the upper floor above the concourse, waiting for her flight, watching other passengers below.

She said she saw the Thai man leave the bag, then she saw the Frenchman pick up the bag and head for the toilets.

The Frenchman, aged 24, was on his way home after a holiday that began on June 11. He has been told that on the basis of the evidence now in the hands of police, the case against him is strong, and that an admission of the theft may be his most practical course.

A guilty plea would be likely to result in a small fine and the opportunity for him to leave Phuket quickly. The Frenchman, however, maintains his innocence and is scheduled to consult a lawyer this week. His initial court hearing has been set for August 14.

Passengers are sometimes accused of bringing illegal drugs to Phuket but arrests of passengers departing through Phuket airport are rare.

One previous case that made news at Phuketwan involved Simon Burrowes, a British tourist who was heading home from a Phuket holiday last year when an Immigration officer questioned the legitimacy of his passport.

Mr Burrowes was eventually fined 1000 baht for insulting the Immigration officer, a penalty that was reduced to 500 baht because he pleaded guilty.

Arrested on January 31 last year, Mr Burrowes eventually headed home from his extended ''holiday'' on May 16. In the intervening months, which included three weeks in Phuket Prison, he had lost his job and his apartment back in Britain.

After the Burrowes case, the then Chief Justice of Phuket attempted to implement a system of mediation that would also help tourists accused of crimes to obtain a quick hearing.

Last month, two airport baggage handlers were arrested and charged with pilfering at the airport.
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Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

gravatar

Certainly a Frenchman from "Marseille", not a real one, travel funded with French government welfare.

Posted by Jean-Paul Patrick on July 25, 2010 14:55

Editor Comment:

Jean-Paul, if you are wrong, will you apologise to the ''Marseille'' French? Do ''real'' Frenchmen know how to apologise?

gravatar

Shame on him if it's not of course but I'm curious to see the name. No way to any apologise to them but this is personal, sorry and thank you.

Posted by Jean-Paul Patrick on July 25, 2010 15:38

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If he is wrong!? So the editor agrees the large ethnic African French are not real "Frenchman", and an apology is only necessary if he is "wrong".

Well done editor. You are either pretty stupid or as ignorant as Jean-Paul.

Posted by Paulie on July 25, 2010 17:24

Editor Comment:

Paulie, please don't make assumptions.
I was hoping to give Jean-Paul the opportunity to reconsider his comment. To me, anyone who has a French passport is French. Where they come from or where their family comes from has no bearing. They're just as French as Jean-Paul.


Saturday August 8, 2020
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa

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