The mastermind and leader of the gold heist is thought by police to be 39-year old Jae-arong Heng who is already understood to have crossed the border into Malaysia with the gold taken from the Hangthong Suthada gold shop in Na Thawi eight days ago.
Arrest warrants were issued by a court last Friday for two men who Thai police in the southern region believe to be key members of a gang that carried out a massive gold heist which saw ฿85 million taken on Saturday the 24th August last.
A senior Thai police officer has confirmed that the armed robbery in which up to 20 people may have been involved is linked to the southern insurgency and that the gold is probably intended to fund future operations linked to the movement.
Up to 20 people involved in ฿85 million heist
On Friday, a Thai court issued arrest warrants for two of the key suspects involved in an audacious gold shop robbery which occurred on Saturday 24th August in which up to 20 people were involved. It saw a gang get away with a massive haul of gold which has been valued at up to ฿85 million.
It is now believed by police in the southern provincial police region 9 that the robbery is linked to the southern insurgency and that some of the suspects may have already fled south across the Malaysian border into Kedah state.
39-year-old leader of the heist is a veteran insurgent thought to have already fled to Malaysia
One of those suspects is believed to be 39-year old Jae-arong Heng who Thai police now consider the most likely candidate to have led the well-executed attack on the Hangthong Suthada gold shop in the Na Thawi area of Songkhla province on Saturday afternoon the 24th August at 1.30 pm approximately.
Attack began when a hired van was hijacked in Pattani province at 10 am and the driver held
The operation to rob the shop began earlier that day at 10 am when a van driven by one Rosali Yosen was hired by three men to take them to the Nong Chick district of Pattani province. At the village of Ban Khuan Khuha, the gang hijacked the vehicle and tied up the unfortunate driver. Some were left behind to keep the driver in check while the van was driven to Na Thawi town in Songkhla.
Gold robbery carried out by men dressed like Thai army rangers and disguised as women on Saturday 24th August in the early afternoon
At the Suthada Gold shop, men appeared wearing camouflage outfits that witnesses described as looking like Thai army rangers while others who took part in the gold shop robbery were dressed as women. The result was that the shop’s shelves were cleaned bare with over 3,000 baht weight of gold taken in addition to gold bars and other jewellery. The owner of the establishment which was also robbed in 2005, Samak Anujorn, said that much of what was stolen was not insured by the business.
The van hijacked in Pattani was later found at a rubber plantation 15 km for the shop. Police are reported to have received some forensic evidence from both locations as part of their ongoing investigation.
Enormous gold heist linked to the insurgency
The Chief of Provincial Police Region 9, Police Lieutenant General Ronasilp Phusara has confirmed that the robbery is linked to the insurgency and that the probable leader is 39-year old Jae-arong Heng who is an active insurgent in Pattani and Songkhla provinces for some years now. He is reported to be wanted on a number of explosive changes.
The police boss also believes that the gold has been taken across the Thai Malaysian border into Kedah state where it can easily be exchanged for currency and will be used for future terrorist and insurgency operations.
Warrants gang leaders including a man wanted for three murders and another with car bombs
The two men for whom arrest warrants were issued by the Provincial Court in Na Thawi on Friday are named as Wae-useng Dueraheng and Saifutdin Hayipute. The two are also believed to be linked to the insurgency. Wae-useng Dueraheng is wanted on warrants for the murder of three people including two security officers in 2014 and a member of the public in April this year. The second man, Saifutdin Hayipute has four arrest warrants linked to the theft cars in 2017 used later in bombing attacks.