PHUKET – A manhunt is on for two men accused of holding fake passports who fled a Phuket police station on Saturday morning, shortly before they were to be taken to court.
The pair are identified on their passports, purported to be Portuguese, as Sandeep Singh, 30, and Raj Kumar, 36. They fled after asking to use the washroom at the Sakhu police station in Thalang district, where they were being interrogated on Saturday morning, the Bangkok Post reported.
Pol Maj Gen Theerapon Thipcharoen, chief of the Phuket police, ordered all stations to hunt down the suspects and distribute their photos and information via social media. Anyone who spots the duo is urged to alert police at the Sakhu station or call the 24-hour police hotline number 191.
He said the Sakhu station was newly built and had no cells. When police bring in suspects, they interrogate them immediately and then take them to court for detention. The foreign suspects might have observed conditions and seen a chance to escape, he said.
A committee will be set up to investigate the officers on duty for alleged negligence, he added.
Pol Col Jeerasak Siamsak, chief of the Sakhu station, said officers had taken custody of the two foreigners from immigration officials at Phuket airport at around 5am on Saturday. They were to have been taken to court at 8am. During the interrogation, the suspects sought permission to go to the washroom and to smoke.
The investigating officer allowed them to leave the room, with a junior officer assigned to watch them. Instead of going to the washroom, the suspects simply ran out of the station. Officers quickly pursued them but could not catch up. They radioed other stations and police manning road checkpoints to intercept the suspects, but no trace of them was found.
The duo’s passports and other belongings were seized.
Manager Online reported that the two suspects had earlier travelled to South Korea, where officials found they were using fake passports. South Korean authorities then sent them back to Thailand, the place they had originally departed from.