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A dishonest Bangkok cabby who kept millions of baht in US dollars that he found on his back seat has only been fined 1,000 baht for not accepting a passenger.
When the money was returned it was found to be 35,000 baht short.
A group of Chinese people who lost the money have decided not to press charges.
Sanook related the story that came from a hotel employee at the Twin Towers Hotel on Rong Muang Road.
Two Chinese people left the hotel and were carrying a dull plastic bag containing 90,000 US dollars that was within a 7/Eleven plastic bag. The money was for a condo purchase.
They got in an Orange cab but the driver refused to take them saying he would not be in time to return his cab to the rental company. They exited the cab and left the money – worth 2,800,000 in baht – on the back seat. It happened on Tuesday of last week.
Hotel CCTV was inconclusive and did not show the licence plate of the taxi.
Pathumwan district were contacted and their CCTV led to a taxi but it turned out to be the wrong one.
JS100 radio station joined in the investigation and discovered that the taxi had the plate ทห (thor hor) 7445 (Bangkok). The Department of Land Transport got involved and found out that the driver was a man called Worapong.
Worapong admitted that he had picked up two Chinese people but couldn’t take them to their destination as he didn’t have time before returning his cab. He said that at the next intersection he picked up three women two of whom sat in the back and one in the front. He took them to Pin Klao.
He didn’t notice what any of the passengers were holding, he claimed.
JS100 now stepped up the search by contacting the rental company. As it was a “Taxi OK” cab it had internal CCTV through this proved unclear.
On Saturday the Pathumwan police were contacted.
Their further investigations – with more internal CCTV footage from the cab – concluded that Worapong had gone to his house with the plastic bag for 49 minutes before taking the taxi back to the rental company. He didn’t tell the garage that he had found anything.
Police went to the driver’s house in Soi Kamnanmaen 16 near the rental company and found it had been clear out.
The search for the driver was now well and truly on. He was found outside a local convenience store and admitted he had found the bag and decided to move house.
The money was traced to his brother in Ratchaburi and Ban Kha police in that city made a report and received the money.
By dawn the next day the money was back in the hands of the Pathumwan police who wanted to clear up all suspicion before it was returned to the Chinese couple. At least one of them was now in hospital.
On Tuesday the bag was finally claimed by the Chinese. Six people turned up to meet Pol Lt Chindanai Wilaiwan who was in charge of the case. They said they had invested 15,000 US dollars each in a “beauty project” the main point of which was to purchase a condominium in Pattaya. It all seemed above board.
By this time the bag was found to contain 88,900 US dollars making it 1,100 dollars or about 35,000 baht short of what was originally lost.
The Chinese said they did not want to press charges over the missing money and asked for swindling charges against the taxi driver to be withdrawn.
Instead the taxi driver Worapong was fined 1,000 baht for refusing passengers.