Man admits to doping monks and patients

THAILAND - A man has confessed to drugging several monks and patients in order to steal their valuables, a police source said yesterday.

The suspect, Somkiat Phet-ngarm, 43, was reportedly nabbed in Trat yesterday.

"He confessed during the interrogation," the source said.

This suspect is believed to have been at the centre of several much-publicised drugging cases at Bangkok's Ramathi-bodi Hospital. Police used the hospital's CCTV system to find clues.

His arrest will be announced in a press conference today.

The same police source said Somkiat also drugged monks because they were easy targets.

"Monks normally accept and eat any food or drink that is offered to them. They never suspect that the offerings can be laced with harmful substances," the source said.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the police officer said that Somkiat had drugged several monks and later followed one of them to Ramathibodi Hospital, where he targeted several patients.

According to police investigation, the suspect allegedly used the colourless and odourless sedative Xylazine - generally used to sedate animals - on his victims. There is a high risk of overdose and death if the drug is wrongly administered to humans.

"From background checks, we found that he was also involved in robberies in many other areas," the source said.

Separately, the Provincial Police Region 1 announced that they have arrested a woman and her son for allegedly drugging a Japanese engineer.

The suspects are Nattanan Kaenmai, 50, and Krit Limros-anan, 27.

Police said the 29-year-old victim was found unconscious with all his valuables gone at a bus stop in Pathum Thani on August 18.

"He met two women at a tourist hangout on Khao San Road in Bangkok, and after a few drinks, they led him to a taxi and drove him to various ATM machines to withdraw cash," Provincial Police Region 1 commissioner Maj-General Kachen Kotchapalayuk said.

One of these women was allegedly Nattanan, while the other was identified as Arom Kaewruang, 25.

Nattanan and her son, Krit, were arrested on Thursday after he was found to have used the victim's credit card to withdraw cash.

Police are in the process of seeking an arrest warrant for Arom.