Suspect in June swindle of British man arrested

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Police have arrested a drug-addicted grifter wanted in an elaborate swindle of a British man in June and a recent 95,000 baht theft.

Orawan Kaewdaeng, 43, was apprehended July 18 at the Nasa Orchid Hotel following a complaint from Suphkanya Pimolbu, 27, that the suspect had stolen 95,000 baht from her purse after pretending to be a new friend.

Victims point to Orawan Kaewdaeng, an alleged grifter who pilfered money and valuable items from them. Victims point to Orawan Kaewdaeng, an alleged grifter who pilfered money and valuable items from them.

In Orawan’s hotel room police found 0.75 g. of crystal methamphetamines, six credit cards, a small necklace, and three lockets with amulets. Investigators also recovered a British passport belonging to Paul Andrew Denham.

Denham, 59, and his girlfriend, 40-year-old Prakai Janphot, were victims in a June 19 scam at a North Pattaya hotel involving Banglamung civil-defense volunteers and one other suspect.

According to the victims, they had been having one of their frequent drunken arguments on Second Road when a Thai woman – Orawan – approached them to offer assistance. She then led them back to their hotel where they were joined by an unidentified man and registered district volunteer Wattanachai Sreekhumnoi, 22.

Claiming to be police, the two men searched Denham’s room and attempted to mediate the dispute between the couple, which had reached the point of Denham telling Prakai to leave. Orawan allegedly then demanded 10,000 baht as a parting gift for his paramour and 2,000 baht for the officers. He complied.

Prakai didn’t leave, however, and when the two reunited, they discovered the supposed police had absconded with all the cash, as well as a mobile phone and passport taken during their search of their room.

The couple appealed to the media for help after the police apparently dropped pursuit of the grifters, but luck turned for authorities, who stumbled upon Orawan during the Suphkanya investigation.

Suphkanya told police she had been befriended by Orawan, who had come into her house to use the restroom. The suspect returned to tell the housewife that her pipes were leaking. As Suphkanya investigated, Orawan allegedly lifted 95,000 baht, a mobile phone and cosmetics from her purse and fled.

Police said Orawan confessed to the latest robbery, using 20,000 baht to buy a motorbike and spending the rest of the money on drugs and travel.