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Street Cleaner in Thailand Praised for Returning US$5600 in Gold

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Street Cleaner in Thailand Praised for Returning US$5600 in Gold

A street cleaner in Thailand has been feted for her honesty, earning praise and a special certificate of honour from the local authorities on Wednesday, after she found and returned gold accessories worth nearly 200,000 baht (US$5600) to their owner.

Ms Ratree Chumwong, 55, was on morning cleaning duty in Mueang Phetchabun district on Monday when she found a round box with a clear lid that appeared to contain a number of gold accessories, Straits Times news platform reported.

The part-time employee of the municipal office in the northern-central Thai province of Phetchabun said she recognised that the box was valuable as it looked like one from a local goldsmith and jeweller.

She chose not to open it, instead covering it with a plastic bin while she told a nearby restaurant’s operator about her discovery. Together, they informed the police, who managed to contact the owner of the gold to reunite him with his belongings.

“The owner must have been sorry… (I know) because my gold necklace has been lost before,” Ms Ratree said, as cited by online platform Phu Phithak, which is Thai for “guardian”. “I’m so happy to do a good deed. I almost cried,” she added.

Street cleaner in Thailand returns gold

Mr Ittiphon, a freelance photographer whom the gold belonged to, claimed his valuables at the Mueang Phetchabun police station on Monday.

He explained that he was at a party on Sunday and had put the gold accessories, which included a necklace, a bracelet and a gold-framed amulet worth nearly 200,000 baht, in the round box for safety.

According to the Economic Research Institute, a salary tracking platform, the average salary for a cleaner in Thailand is around 232,000 baht (US$6500) a year.

Mr Ittiphon, 31, said he did not realise he had dropped the box and was “overwhelmed” with gratitude to Ms Ratree.

Her act of honesty was recognised by Phetchabun Mayor Seksan Niyompeng, who handed her a certificate of recognition on Wednesday morning.

The mayor also forked out a cash reward from his own pocket and said the municipal office is considering converting Ms Ratree into a permanent employee.

Local residents expressed their admiration for Ms Ratree’s actions online, with many leaving comments of appreciation on social media posts with videos from local news channels reporting the incident.

Referring to Thailand’s political impasse where the establishment- and junta-appointed Senate has twice blocked the prime ministerial bid of election winner Pita Limjaroenrat, one netizen commented: “If the seniors in the current era were like this, I would have a prime minister already.”

Gold to top $2,000 this year

Thailand is known for its rich history of gold production and its significance in the country’s culture and economy. Gold has played a significant role in various aspects of Thai society, including religious rituals, weddings, and investment.

Historically, Thailand has been a major producer of gold, and it was one of the world’s top gold producers for several years. The primary source of gold in Thailand has been the Phichit Province, which has a long history of gold mining dating back centuries. The gold extracted from this region has been used for both cultural and economic purposes.

In Thai culture, gold holds deep symbolism and is often associated with wealth, prosperity, and spirituality. It is commonly used in religious offerings and ceremonies, especially in Buddhist temples. Gold is also a popular material for crafting intricate jewelry and ornaments, and it holds significance in traditional Thai weddings.

In terms of the economy, gold is an important commodity in Thailand. The country has a vibrant gold market, with numerous jewelry shops and gold trading centers. Thai people often buy gold as a form of investment, and it is considered a safe haven asset during times of economic uncertainty.

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