One man arrested as Phuket police smash credit card theft gang

From the Phuket News:

PHUKET: Phuket police are currently hunting for Bangkok man who is suspected of being part of a gang of credit card thieves and managed to evade arrest when one of his accomplices was apprehended during a shopping spree in Chalong on Sunday (Nov 29).

59-year-old Pithawat Akaratithiweerakul was arrested at the Tha Chatchai police checkpoint after fleeing from police at Tesco Lotus Chalong.

Police have so far seized around one million baht worth of items believed top have been bought with the cards.

The arrested man, 59-year-old Pithawat Akaratithiweerakul (aka Kawang Faipetch or Anuchit Faipetch) from Pisanulok, was presented to media at a press conference held by Deputy Superintendent Col Pinit Sirichai at Phuket City Police press today (Dec 1) at 10am.

Pithawat were arrested at the Tha Chatchai police checkpoint while he was attempting to leave the island with valuable items he bought with stolen credit cards.

Police seized from Pithawat five stolen credit cards along with array of items bought using the stolen credit cards which are as follow :

300 packs of Cigarettes worth B180,000

3 Samsung mobile phones valued at B47,000

1 Gucci watch (B30,000)

Cameras (B30,000)

Pithawat confessed that some items bought with the stolen credit cards had already sold in Bangkok include two Apple iPhone 6S, ten Apple iPhone 6S Plus and two Apple iPad minis.

He and his accomplice, 41-year-old Nakrop Darunpan from Bangkok, are alleged to have been stealing credit cards from foreigners and buying expensive items with them.

Police estimate that they may have bought items totalling at least one million baht.

Both suspects were seen at Tesco Lotus in Chalong by undercover police who had been assigned to follow them when they were suspected of being involved in suspicious activities at a Tesco Lotus in Kokkloym, Phang Nga.

Col Pinit revealed at the press conference, “We were alerted by Siam Commercial Bank that they suspected someone was using stolen foreign credit cards to pay for items at several stores on the island including Central Festival, Homepro in Chalong and Tesco Lotus Thalang.

“After investigating we managed to get a description of the suspects and followed them.

“We learned that they always started their shopping spree at 2pm so we waited for them to visit the stores on Sunday,” he said.

“At noon on Sunday, an undercover officer spotted Pithawat using a stolen card at Tesco Lotus Chalong. However, he was convinced another suspect was waiting in the car so officers waited for Pithawat to leave before approaching him.”

“Pithawat got into a truck with another suspect, but they sped off when officers approached them,” he said.

Officers pursued them and shot one of the trucks tyres hoping it would stop the men from fleeing, but they abandoned the truck in Soi Palai and drove off in a Mazda 2 heading north on Thepkassattri Rd.

Officers at Tha Chatchai check point were alerted and ordered to be on the lookout for the getaway vehicle.

Then at 2:30pm Pithawat was arrested at the checkpoint in another truck along with items he bought with the stolen cards, but his accomplice Nakrob was no where to be found.

Pithawat told police that they worked as a team. One member would steal the credit cards and send them to another team via a cargo company based at Phuket International Airport.

“We would use the stolen cards to buy goods. We would only buy expensive items which were passed to other members of our team to sell.

“All the profits we made would be divided among the team, but the person who stole credit cards would get B10,000 per card if it was a good card, ” Pithawat said.

Pithawat confessed to police that his accomplice was Nakrob and that he had worked with him many times in Phuket and helped him get way from police at Tesco Lotus Chalong.

Pithawat was charged with theft and taken to Chalong Police Station to be charged.

“We will continue to look for Nakrob and others who may be involved in this crime and bring them in to justice,” said Col Pinit.