The big news from Ladprao 64 is of course the burglary just down the soi at the house of the Perm Sec of the Ministry of Transport. It is a large house and compound – ten times what we have or more – which just goes to show how uneven the development of Bangkok is. One large hi-so house can be next door to what is little more than humble shophouses but the people inhabit different worlds.
The burglary has given rise to all kinds of rumours (some of which are repeated in the article I linked to above). As is typical of reporting in Thailand, there are several contradictory versions in circulation and people seem to be saying the opposite of what they were saying five minutes before. And so forth.
At first, the story was that a few burglars had broken in, threatened a maid, picked up a few things and then left. Then it was said that threats were made ‘to kill everyone in the house’ (all the non-staff residents were out at a wedding for the daughter). Then it was said that six or eight men were involved all dressed in the full ‘men in black’ regalia – long-sleeved black t-shirts and trousers, masks and guns. This is the outfit associated with military personnel acting out of hours. One of these men threatened the staff, apparently, that ‘we just want back what he took from our boss,’ although it was not made clear what this might actually be.
Now the latest development is that, again according to rumour, the millions and perhaps billions of baht in cash were stashed in the house – the thieves grabbed two hundred million baht and left hundreds of millions behind. There are varying reports of how much money was found on the four men who have now been taken into custody (can anyone imagine any possible circumstance under which there might be a dispute over how much cash was recovered from suspected perps by police officers?). As a result, the Perm Sec (now with added ‘political’ rumours) has been moved to an inactive post and investigations are supposedly being started by the Money Laundering Office and the Corruption people. He himself has claimed that he was ‘set up.’
If I look out the window, I can see the house concerned. However, they rather like their privacy and there is a big wall all around. They did have some help in preparing the walls for possible floods …