Sunday, 3 June 2018

Ex-jet ski star accused of running car-theft gang

Sommai Wongwiboonkit, 47, looks on as officers inspect licence plates, car registration books and other items seized during his arrest at his house in Bang Bua Thong district of Nonthaburi. (Photo supplied by Crime Suppression Division, Royal Thai Police)

A former jet ski racing star arrested in Nonthaburi has been accused of leading a gang that stole pickup trucks and SUVs and sold them in neighbouring countries.

Crime Suppression Division (CSD) officers apprehended Sommai "Yong" Wongwiboonkit, 47, at a house in tambon Bangrak Pattana in Bang Bua Thong district on Saturday.

Mr Sommai was wanted on an arrest warrant issued by the Nakhon Pathom provinicial court on May 3 on theft charges, said CSD police.

The arrest followed a vehicle theft in Nakhon Pathom on April 29. Wicharn Onsomkit said his Toyota Fortuner was stolen on that day from the car park of the Tesco Lotus store in Nakhon Chasri district of the province just west of Bangkok.

Mr Wicharn immediately alerted police, who radioed local officers to monitor the vehicle's GPS tracking system. The Fortuner was found abandoned not long afterward at the entrance of Wat Sawang Arom in tambon Khun Kaew of Nakhon Chaisri district. The licence plates had been changed, but a shoulder bag and a mobile phone were found inside the vehicle.

A subsequent investigation led to the arrest of Mr Sommai in Nonthaburi. Seized from his house in Bang Bua Thong were 31 items including numerous licence plates and car registration books, three vehicles suspected of having been stolen, and two 9mm pistols.

Mr Sommai was a former star competitor with the Ozza jet ski team, and a third-place finisher in the Bangkok Jet Ski competition in 2011.

Investigators said the gang allegedly headed by Mr Sommai focussed on stealing Toyota Hilux Vigo and Fortuner vehicles that were in a high demand and could fetch high prices in neigbhouring countries. They say the gang was responsible for numerous thefts dating back to 2012, mostly in Phetchabun, Loei and Prachuap Khiri Khan provinces.

The suspect was wanted on 11 arrest warrants in all. CSD police on Saturday handed him over to the Nakhon Chaisri police station for further legal action.
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Author: verified_user


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