'Mute' Korean arrested for car robbery

A man who identified himself as Lim Chun-oo, a South Korean, was arrested in Bangkok late Wednesday night for assaulting a woman driver and stealing her black Honda CRV in the parking lot of Seacon Square department store on Srinakarin Road.

Chidchanok Samolkiat, 36, told police a man threatened her with a gun while she was opening the door of her parked car on Srinakarin 57 Road in Prawet district about 9.30pm. When she screamed, he punched her hard in the face and forced her to sit in the front passenger seat.

When she tried to get out of the car the man punched her repeatedly, so she pretended to pass out and he stopped hitting her, Ms Chidchanok said. She suffered facial bruising and a broken nose. 

Security guards tried to use a barrier to block his escape when he drove off in her car. The man drove the vehicle through the blockade, but the windshield was broken. Ms Chidchanok was able to jump from the car at that moment.

The 45-year-old man was later arrested while hiding in a construction workers' camp on Srinakarin 57 Road, also known as Premier Road, where the car was found parked. He claimed to be deaf and mute.

Through an interpreter, communicating by written notes, he testified that he had arrived alone in Thailand as a tourist on Jan 26 this year. He said his belongings, valuables and passport were stolen in Pattaya.

He had tried in vain to make a living and find a way to return to his homeland, he said, but because he was deaf and mute no one would hire him.

He then bought a 20-baht toy gun and used it to rob the woman of her car. Police did not believe the man and asked the South Korean embassy to check on his background.

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