How bad is the tourist industry getting in Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand? It is so bad that a public health official who has a tourism business on the side decided to make some money by selling and stealing cars.
His tourism business is suffering because of COVID-19. He has also ended up in deep debt.
Roenrit Jarukasem, a 45-year-old official at the public health office in a Ubon district office, got arrest after he was caught driving a stolen vehicle. He was caught while he was trying to pick up family members in downtown Ubon on a Thursday evening.
Colonel Thanaphant Padungkarn, the chief of police for the downtown district, took Roegrit to the police station to question him about a number of car thefts that had been happening recently in the city.
Roegrit confessed to taking three vehicles. They all came from used car dealerships.
Due to the pandemic, his business had been running at a loss for a long time. All the vans that he used to take tourists to Laos were repossessed by his creditors. To settle debts, he had to sell other assets that he had borrowed to start the business.
He thought that stealing cars would be a way that he could make some money and he would take them from used car dealers in Ubon.
On December 17th, 2020, he took a Toyota Commuter van, that was valued at 700,000 baht from a Toyota Sure car dealership. He was able to sell it for 100,000 baht.
On January 9th, 2021, he took another Toyota Commuter van from Kancharoenyont car dealership.
Local car dealers complained to the police and they began an investigation. The investigation resulted in Roegrit getting arrested. All the vehicles that he stole were returned.