Honest Thai cabby returns over 4 million yen to Japanese tourist

Taxi driver Prathuan Muenrung, right, returned 4.74 million yen to Watanabe Tetsuro in Bangkok on Tuesday.

A Bangkok taxi driver yesterday returned a backpack with 4.74 million yen in cash (S$54,131) left behind in his cab by a Japanese tourist on Monday.

The 52-year-old cabbie, Prathuan Muenrung, presented the backpack with documents, medicine and Japanese currency to Japanese tourist Watanabe Tetsuro, 56, at the Police Radio FM 91 station in Chatuchak district.

Prathuan said the tourist boarded his taxi at Suvarnabhumi International Airport and asked to go to Soi Thaniya, off Silom Road, at about 1am Monday. He said the tourist paid the fare and left the backpack behind, so he waited for 15 minutes.

When bystanders told him the tourist had gone, Prathuan took another customer to the National Stadium - then returned, hoping the Japanese man would come to retrieve the backpack.

Unable to locate the tourist, he contacted Police Radio FM 91 and handed the backpack to them so they could find its owner.

"I was astonished to find that much cash and felt sympathy for him, so I tried to return it," he said adding |he felt very proud to manage to do just that.

When Tetsuro recovered his bag he thanked and rewarded Prathuan with 200,000 yen. He left for Singapore yesterday.