Intellectual Property Department deputy chief arrested in Japan for allegedly stealing paintings

A senior Thai commerce official on an official trip to Japan for intellectual property rights discussion was arrested for allegedly stealing paintings in the hotel.

The arrest was reported by a local Japanese daily in Kyoto.

The suspect was identified as Mr Suphat Sa-nguandeekul, deputy director general of the Department of Intellectual Property.

The daily said the police detained a Thai suspect as he was about to check out from a hotel in Kyoto after the hotel reported the police of three paintings hanging on the walls had disappeared.

A check through the hotel's CCTV cameras showed a hotel guest stole the three paintings valued at 15,000 yen.

The guest later identified himself as a commerce official.

The check of his luggage produced the stolen paintings.

Meanwhile the Commerce Ministry permanent secretary Wiboonlak Ruamrak confirmed today that a senior official of her ministry has been arrested in Japan for allegedly stealing three paintings from a hotel as reported by Japanese newspapers.

She said the official was on an official trip to Japan.

She said the Thai consular office and trade representative office in Osaka were coordinating with Japanese police for more information.

She said the Commerce Ministry would conduct an investigation once the official returns to Thailand.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)