PHUKET: A gun-waving bandit escaped with 48,000 baht last night in a heist from a currency exchange booth in Phuket's west coast holiday heartland.
Police were hunting the robber gunman who made his escape by motorcycle from the Kasikorn Bank booth alongside the Kata Beach Resort in Pak Bang Road about 10.10pm.
A drawing of the bandit has been issued (see photo album above) based on a description given to police by teller Janya Siwasutam, 29, who was alone in the booth when the gunman sidled up.
She said he appeared to be a normal customer but was alert enough to notice some details about him and his getaway motorcycle.
The bank branch, popular with tourists and opposite the Kata-Karon municipal offices, had closed at 6pm. The currency booth stays open until 11pm.
Khun Janya said the solidly built man pulled a handgun and pushed a plastic bag under the glass security screen, telling her to fill it. She obeyed and he was on his way speedily.
She noted he spoke with a southern accent and told police he rode off on a white Yamaha Fino fitted with magnesium alloy wheels. He was wearing a multicolored motorcycle helmet and a long-sleeved jacket.
Khun Janya was interviewed at length last night.
It's the first bank job in that part of Phuket since a raider escaped with 1.7 million baht in a raid on an SCB currency kiosk in Karon, the neighboring seaside to Kata, on November 26. Police later arrested the raider and also charged a bank teller.