Cabbie arrested for abandoning passenger, crystal meth seized

Taxi driver Boonchuay Pimnon, 37, is interrogated by tourist police after he was arrested for abandoning a female passenger who refused to his demand for a 500-baht fare, and crystal methamphetamine was found in his taxi. (Photo by Sutthiwit Chayutworakan)

SAMUT PRAKAN: A taxi driver who abandoned a passenger after the woman refused his demand for a 500 baht-fare from Suvarnabhumi airport to a central area of Bangkok has been caught with crystal methamphetamine in his cab, police said.

Boonchuay Pimnon, 37, was arrested on Monday after the woman posted a clip online that she had used a taxi service at the airport to Huai Khwang, but the driver did not turn on the meter and demanded 500 baht for the fare. When she rejected the fare, the driver abandoned her. The incident drew heavy onlline criticism, prompting tourist police to track down the driver.

Pol Col Amnart Chomchai, superintendent of tourist police sub-divison 3, said that during a search, police found several packs containing crystal methamphetamine, together with equipment used for taking illicit drugs, inside his taxi. He initially denied the drugs belonged to him.

Under interrogation, said Pol Col Amnart, Mr Boonchuay admitted the drugs belonged to him and offered 5,000 baht as a bribe to the arresting police officers. He was taken to the tourist police sub-division 3.

The suspect confessed he had been addicted to illicit drugs for several years, Pol Col Amnart added, saying he took crystal meth every day, and bought it for 200 baht a pack.

He admitted to having demanded 500 baht from the female passenger, as she described in the clip. He claimed taxi fares during Songkran were often not based on the meter, saying most taxi drivers charge higher rates.

Police charged him with driving under the influence of illicit drugs, having illicit drugs in his possession, trying to bribe officers and abandoning a passenger. They would ask the Land Transport Department to revoke his driving licence.

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