Thai police arrested a taxi driver three years after an Australian tourist’s bag was allegedly stolen from his vehicle.
Chaiwat Suebphanpho, 54, allegedly took the bag containing the passport, cash worth 40,000 baht (1,656 AUD) and around 4,000 in Australian dollars of the passenger when he took him to the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok in 2018.
Police said that an initial lack of evidence meant that Chaiwat was never arrested as a suspect and the case remained unsolved until the driver allegedly returned the passport to the Australian Embassy last month.
The case was then reopened due to the recently-retrieved passport and the taxi driver was arrested for theft on May 25.
A police officer who was part of the investigation said the only evidence they had at first was the CCTV recording from the airport showing the driver and the Australian unloading the bags from the taxi.
Police Major General Weerapol Charoensiri said: ‘We had the footage at the airport where the driver was helping the tourist unload his bags from the trunk but there was no evidence that he took the missing bag.
‘We were able to request the arrest warrant when the passport was returned by the driver to the Australian Embassy.’
The Samut Prakan provincial court issued the warrant and the driver was taken by authorities while he was walking around Bang Phlat district.
The officer added that Chaiwat already confessed to taking the bag but the investigation into the incident will proceed.