Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Plastic Chair Robber

BANGKOK – A shameless thief has been borrowing tables and chairs from temples and trading them for cash on the black market.

Yes, there is a black market for everything.

Supaset Phayang, 28-years-old, is a genius robber who has been doing his rounds at temples and municipal areas; a large number of plastic chairs have gone missing.

Phayang’s hook is to ask people if he can borrow their chairs with no thought of returning them; he then sells the chairs for cash per kilo on the black market. This process has been repeated many times – temples have allegedly lost more than thousands of chairs.

Police recently caught up to the chair robber and raided his safe house fortified by plastic chairs. He has since been thrown in jail.

‘Supaset’ is the thief’s con name, his real name is Warapong. Characterized by strange behavior, he would go around to temples and communities borrowing plastic tables and chairs without returning them. Recently, Warapong approached a temple and asked to borrow 100 chairs for a blessing ceremony in a nearby village that didn’t have enough. Granted the permission, Supaset came to collect them from the temple with his pick-up truck. He appeared more casual than ever.

The tables and chairs did not return after seven days and rumors got around that other monastery’s had been robbed. When confronted, Supaset denied that he had borrowed anything from them. Villagers informed police immediately.

They tracked down Supaset and the thousands of chairs and tables he had stolen and distributed. A couple of commercial fans had also been stolen and sold to a second hand store called ‘Siam’. Police arrived at the shop to find chairs stacked at the back of the store: the names of temples imprinted on the back of them. The owner of the store said she bought the chairs for 11 baht per kilo and was charged by police for trading stolen goods. She had to pay 30,000 baht bail.

Supaset was then arrested and confessed to stealing the chairs and tables. He was also charged with drug possession.

Supaset said he had to use white-out to erase temple names from the backs of thousands of chairs and that the procedure had stressed him out real bad – drugs had helped him cope with the tedious process.

Courtesy of Thairath

Writer: Adrian Tse & Chet Chetchotisak

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