Pattaya’s fun lovin criminals: Tourists and expats in Pattaya on guard against low life thieves, many of them foreigners, targeting the city’s booming tourist trade, preying on tourist and locals alike. One Algerian arrested for the theft of nearly ฿100,000 including a Prada bag told Thai police that he was a tourist!

Yesterday saw a French man arrested for the brazen theft of smartphone in Pattaya. Three hours earlier, a Bhutanese man, a regular visitor to Thailand, was accosted by a middle eastern or central Asian man in South Pattaya. The forward man bamboozled the polite Bhutanese national with impertinent questions about the currency in his wallet. When refused, the man reached into the wallet to peruse the cash and robbed the Bhutanese tourist of $500. It comes as Thai police in Pattaya, in April, arrested a number of Algerian men and an Australian of African descent for theft and pick pocketing in the city. The thieves had particularly targeted the city’s busy Walking Street entertainment area.

40 year old French national Meriem Laurent (left) was arrested on Wednesday for a brazen attempt to steal a Huawei smartphone from a local tech shopping center. (Top right) Australian national of African descent, 21 year old Oliver Niyonsaba who was arrested in April for attempting to steal a Thai woman’s handbag in the Walking Street entertainment area. (Bottom right) 53 year old Algerian Moulod Sadat who Thai police tracked down after he stole a Prada bag with cash with a combined value of up to ฿100,000 from a South Korean visitor in the Walking Street area. The Algerian told police that did it on instinct by that really he was a first time tourist to Thailand.

Thai police in Pattaya on Wednesday arrested a 40 year French man after he was thwarted in an attempt to steal and expensive smartphone from a local trader. The incident happened at the Tukcom Pattaya centre, a specialist IT Shopping centre in Pattaya at 9.30 pm approximately.

French man purported to be a customer before his brazen, foolhardy attempt at theft

Police report that French national, Meriem Laurent, assumed the air of an interested customer perusing the various smartphones on sale at the vendor’s outlet in the shopping center. The shopping center is located in the South Pattaya area. He later yanked the phone from it’s position and attempted to run off with it. Luckily for the shop owner who was looking elsewhere, the phone was attached to an alarm system.

Citizen’s arrest of French thief

The alarm went off and other customers noticed the suspicious behavior of the French man. The shop owner chased him and was assisted by other members of the public in apprehending the thief. The French national was first held by members of the public in a citizen’s arrest before the arrival of Thai police.

Pattaya police later retrieved CCTV footage from the shopping center which shows the French man and the attempted theft. The smartphone was a Huawei model valued at ฿31,900. The CCTV footage also shows the foreigner being apprehended in his attempt to escape.

French man named as 40 year old Laurent Meriem and had also entered Thailand illegally

Thai Police Captain Janephob Wanthongsang later briefed the media. He confirmed the identity of the 40 year old French national as Laurent Meriem and said that the man was being held in custody. Thai police have also established that the man was illegally living in Thailand and appears to have entered the country illegally. He is facing charges in respect of the theft of the phone as well as immigration offences.

Bhutanese tourist and regular visitor to Thailand robbed by a man at 6 pm on Wednesday

Also yesterday in Pattaya, a tourist and visitor from Bhutan was robbed of $500 at 6 pm in the evening. The man who identified himself as Tshering Dorji, contacted the Thai Examiner to report the incident. The Bhutanese man said that he reported the incident to Thai police in Pattaya near the Hilton Hotel in the city. He said that he was under pressure to return to Bangkok where he is staying until Sunday May 26th. This prevented him from pressing the matter further.

Man was in his late forties and of foreign origin

Mr Dorji is a regular visitor to Pattaya and was in the city having previously visited Rayong and Sattahip. The incident unfolded at 6 pm on Wednesday on the South Pattaya Road near Wat Chai Mongkorn.  A man approached the Bhutanese national on the street. He looked like he was either middle eastern or from central Asia. The man was described as in his late forties or early fifties and between 5’ 8” and 5’ 10” in height.

Thief quizzed Bhutanese man and demanded to know about foreign currency in his wallet

The man wanted to know what sort of foreign currency the Bhutanese tourist was carrying. He asked if he had currency in the denomination of his own country. The thief then appeared to be not interested in seeing the one hundred note denomination from Bhutan but insisted on examining all the money being carried by the Bhutanese man. When the Bhutanese national refused, the man reached in and forcefully pulled out all the currency in Mr Dorji’s wallet.

Victim disappointed that Thailand has been infiltrated by the wrong kind of people

After the man was gone, the Bhutanese man realised that he had been robbed by the thief with a ‘sleight of hand’ about a minute later. ‘Never ever have I been robbed or cheated by anyone in Thailand in many visits in the past,’ the Bhutanese man said. Amazingly, he revealed that he was not perplexed by the loss of the money but was disappointed to find that Thailand has been infiltrated by people like this.

Call to expel foreign criminals who prey on tourists

The Bhutanese visitor called on authorities in Thailand to expel such individuals from the country. ‘Thailand could do well to expel such ‘criminal’ people from the country. I know I’ll definitely be back in Thailand for many times hereafter and will also surely visit Pattaya again, but I would prefer that such persons, who are not even Thais, are expelled.’

April arrest of Algerian and Australian nationals in Pattaya for theft and pick pocketing

In April, Pattaya police arrested an Algerian national and an Australian national with an African background, for crimes in the city. The tourist police arrested 21 year old Oliver Niyonsaba in the entertainment area of a Pattaya’s Walking Street for theft. He had stolen a handbag from a Thai woman. Police took him into custody on theft charges. The victim of the crime was named as a 40 year old Thai woman, Thanyalak Nasuhai.

Thai woman left bag unattended while she went to the toilet but alerted friend foiled thief

The Thai woman told the tourist police that she had left her bag unattended while she went to the toilet. Her friend came to her assistance and staff at the entertainment venue apprehended the thief dressed in combat gear and wearing dreadlocks.

Two Algerian thieves arrested in Pattaya at the same time by Thai police in seperate incidents

Thai police then announced the arrest of a 53 year old Algerian man on Monday April 22nd. The Algerian national had stolen a Prada bag said to be worth over ฿60,000, sunglasses and other valuables again on Walking Street on Friday the 12th April. The man was named as 53 year old Moulod Sadat. On the same day, the police also announced the arrest of another Algerian criminal, Toufik Melki, on the previous weekend for pick pocketing. Police Colonel Prawit Chorseng addressed a press conference and gave details of how police had tracked down the professional pick pocket who targeted Chinese and South Korean tourists in Pattaya’s entertainment area.

Algerian stole Prada bag bag and cash valued at nearly ฿100,000 from the back of a chair

The arrest of 53 year old Moulod Sadat on the same day was confirmed by Police Captain Apichai Krobphet who is the station chief in Pattaya. It came after his South Korean victim reported the theft of the bag as well nearly ฿40,000 in cash made up of baht and won (South Korean currency) on Tuesday 16th April. The bag had been taken at a restaurant on Soi Na Klua 27 on Friday 12th April. The bag was placed on the back of a chair and as well as cash, also contained the South Korean man’s credit cards.

Algerian thief claimed to be a tourist

Police identified the suspect from CCTV footage within the busy venue where the theft took place. They later tracked down the Algerian man. The Algerian claimed to be a first time tourist to Thailand and said that he had acted on instinct, claiming it was not an intentional crime.