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StanChart robbery suspect had escape plan

UNDER ARREST: Thai National Police Chief Chakthip Chaijinda (centre) speaking to the media yesterday after interrogating Roach, the suspect. According to an immigration police chief, it is possible for the 27-year-old Canadian to be extradited to Singapore.


    Jul 14, 2016

    StanChart robbery suspect had escape plan

    WHEN Singapore bank robbery suspect David James Roach was arrested in Bangkok, he had on him 700,000 baht (S$26,780) and a notebook containing a detailed escape plan that included stopovers in Chiang Mai and Dubai, say Thai police.

    Scrawled in the notebook was the same instruction written on a piece of paper and handed to a bank teller at the Standard Chartered Bank branch in Holland Village during last Thursday's robbery.

    The Thai police verified with their Singapore counterparts the content of the note, the deputy commander of Thailand's tourist police, Colonel Nithithorn Chintakanont, told reporters in Bangkok yesterday.

    Although never made public officially, the instruction, as reported by Shin Min Daily News, was: "This is a robbery, I have a weapon, give me money, don't call police."

    Afraid that the robber might use his weapon, the female teller handed over about $30,000 and alerted the police afterwards.

    Roach, 27, was arrested at Boxpackers Hostel in Bangkok's Ratchathwei district on Sunday, after a two-day manhunt by Thai police who had been alerted by the Singapore authorities.

    The Canadian national had arrived on an AirAsia flight on Thursday evening and then taken a taxi to the Central World shopping centre. From there, he walked into the cluster of hostels and massage parlours near popular electronics mall Pantip Plaza.

    "He tried to find a hotel where many people stayed," said Col Nithithorn. The suspect had also lost a considerable amount of weight and looked "quite different" from his passport photo.

    He has been held at an immigration detention centre since his right to stay in the country was cancelled after the Thai police received an arrest warrant from Singapore.

    According to immigration police chief Nathathorn Prousoontorn, it is possible for him to be extradited to Singapore, even if both countries do not have an extradition treaty.

    But much will depend on how fast Singapore can send information to Thailand - and how strong it is - to back up its case against Roach. This will then be forwarded to a Thai court to deliberate.

    Under Thai immigration law, an immigration offender can be detained for up to seven days, after which each 12-day detention period has to be approved by a court.

    If Roach is deported, he will be sent to Canada, and Singapore will have to pursue the case with the Canadian authorities.

    A Singapore Police Force statement on Monday said: "The Singapore authorities are currently engaging our counterparts in Thailand to see whether the suspect can be released into our custody."

    Asked yesterday if the Canadian authorities had been informed of the arrest warrant, a Singapore police spokesman declined comment.

    Shin Min, which spoke to Roach's mother in Canada, yesterday quoted her as saying they had not seen each other since August last year.

    "His father and I thought that he has been travelling and working all this time," she said. "Please tell him, we want to see him. We are worried, and we love him."