Suspect arrested for Suvarnabhumi baggage thefts

Police yesterday arrested a suspect who allegedly stole belongings of passengers at Suvarnabhumi airport in 2015.

Pol Lt Gen Nathathorn Prousoontorn, chief of the Immigration Bureau, said a joint investigation team had apprehended Pipatpong Boonhata, a suspect who fled an arrest warrant after allegedly stealing belongings of passengers at Bangkok’s main airport in 2015.

Pipatpong was found working at a company near the airport.

The suspect at the press conference said he was a baggage handler at the airport but was fired following the allegation. He fled the arrest warrant and sought a new job near the airport.

Pol Maj Gen Chuchat Tareechat, chief of the Immigration Bureau’s investigation unit, said the joint mission was part of police efforts to find and arrest all those wanted under arrest warrants.

“Although this seems to be only a small case of theft, it has greatly damaged the country’s reputation,” he said.

Anyone who finds a person, Thai or foreigner, facing an arrest warrant can call the Immigration Bureau’s hotline at 1178, he said.

“We want to make true the motto of the Immigration Police Bureau chief: Easy stay for good people, difficult stay for bad people,” he said.

In February, another baggage handler at Suvarnabhumi was arrested after being caught on closed-circuit camera taking items out of passengers’ baggage.

Pol Lt Gen Nathathorn said last month 100 plainclothes inspectors would be deployed to improve security. He urged passengers not to keep their valuables in checked baggage.

However, he said passengers who need to keep their valuable items in checked luggage can ask the airport to use plastic wrap to secure their bags for a fee. This might deter potential thieves from opening the bag as it will take longer.