GPS data from a stolen car led police to a storage depot Khon Kaen that’s suspected to be a base for fencing stolen merchandise across the Mekong River, where there is high demand for used vehicles.
Provincial Police Region 4 chief Pol Lt General Surachai Khuantechakhup said police and soldiers raiding the property of Phumpat Pattanasakulcharoen, 38, on Sunday evening found 46 sedans and pickups and a large quantity of hardwood planks believed to be Siamese rosewood, a protected species.
Phumpat told investigators a Thai man in his 30s he knew only by the nickname “Sam” rented the land. He denied knowing it had been turned into a storage yard for cars to be “pawned”.
Kamonlak Pongchatkaew, who runs a car rental business in Udon Thani, led the team in searching the 40-rai compound of four modified warehouses in Tambon Tha Phra, Muang Khon Kaen.
Kamonlak found the sedan a customer had rented from her on March 17 but failed to return within the agreed time.
The car’s GPS signal showed it had been taken to Tha Phra on March 22 and remained there.
Kamonlak filed a complaint with Tha Phra police on Saturday.
Surachai said the lot was hidden from view by plastic sheets and held many models in high demand in a neighbouring country.
He said each vehicle would be checked to see if it was stolen and the person renting the property could face a charge of possessing stolen items.
The wood planks would also be examined and, if shown to be Siamese rosewood, there could be grounds for charges of illegal logging and trading in a protected species.
A pickup also rented from Kamonlak on March 17 was meanwhile tracked by GPS to Mancha Khiri district, she said.