Chiang Saen police have turned to CCTV footage and patrols to find the two men who staged an armed robbery outside a bank in northern Thailand on Monday morning. The pair drove off with ฿1 million that had just been withdrawn to pay farmers for rice.
Thai police in the northern province of Chiang Rai are scouring CCTV footage and running mobile patrols in an effort to track down two robbers who snatched over ฿1 million from an agriculture cooperative employee outside a Bangkok Branch in the district of Chiang Saen on Monday morning.
Police officers in the Chiang Saen district of northern Chaing Rai are searching for two suspects who pulled off a daring robbery outside a Bangkok branch on Phahonyothin Road on Monday morning.
A 46-year-old employee of a local agriculture cooperative had just withdrawn ฿1.05 million in cash from the bank and had entered a vehicle when the raiders pounced.
46-year-old accountant dispatched to the bank to withdraw cash to pay farmers for produce
Mrs Watcharin Banjong works at the Chiang Saen Agricultural Cooperative as a secretary and accountant. She had been dispatched to the bank early on Monday to withdraw the funds to pay farmers for rice paddy.
It is reported that the cooperative makes regular cash withdrawals from different banks in the area, in a similar fashion, to buy produce.
Woman debriefed by the manager of the Bangkok Bank in Chiang Saen just after the heist occurred
Mrs Watcharin was debriefed immediately after the incident by Mr Chaiwat Prommanee, who is the manager of the Bangkok Bank branch outside which the heist took place.
The woman was reportedly left in a state of extreme shock after the violent episode.
Police at the scene have pointed out that the main perpetrator of the robbery behaved in a very aggressive manner.
Had entered a gold Isuzu vehicle with a driver when someone knocked urgently on the window
The woman from the co-op had taken the ฿1.05 million and placed it in a bag.
She then entered a gold Isuzu four-door vehicle driven by a driver and had placed the money on the console.
This was followed by a knock on the window. She opened the door to find out what it was about and a man with a backpack leaned inside.
As he did, he produced a firearm from the holder and grabbed the bag with the cash. He then warned the woman and the driver not to follow.
Saw the armed man get on a waiting motorbike, driven by an accomplice, behind her and drive off
The woman said she saw the man then run to the back of the vehicle where a running motorbike was waiting driven by another villain.
The pair headed off along the road at speed.
However, at one point, they looked like they may have lost control of the motorbike as it wobbled.
Manager of the co-op rushed to the scene
The manager of the Chiang Saen Agricultural Cooperative rushed to the scene.
Mrs Saeng Sunee Nuchai confirmed that the agriculture cooperative withdraws such amounts on a daily basis to pay farmers who are members of the concern.
She said that the amount of money withdrawn varies also daily as does the location and banks where the money is withdrawn.
Employee of the bank witnessed the heist
An employee of the bank was an eyewitness to the incident.
61-year old Mr Thanakon Wongwichai had handed the money over to the woman from a screened facility within the bank which looked out onto the awaiting vehicle.
He said he saw the motorcycle with the helmeted robbers pull up and then leave at speed from the scene.
Immigration bureau police boss first to arrive
The first senior police officer to respond to the incident was Police Lieutenant Colonel Saman Samarn, the Chief Inspector of the Immigration Bureau in Chiang Saen.
He joined the Bangkok Bank Manager, Mr Chaiwat, in gathering information from the distressed cooperative employee.
Police chief confident of finding the two who carried off the armed robbery with CCTV and patrols
The Director of Chiang Saen Police, Police Lieutenant Colonel Saksak Pimolthip, has said that he is confident they will soon identify the actors involved in the heist.
Police have sent out patrols to try to locate the motorbike which is believed to have turned into an alleyway not long after taking off from the scene of the crime.
Police are also gathering CCTV footage to establish the path of the motorbike, said to be a blue Honda Wave vehicle. He noted that both suspects were wearing helmets.
The Chiang Saen district is located in the northern Thai province of Chaing Rai at its northern border and in close proximity to the notorious Golden triangle drug-producing region.