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Bangkok Post – CEO’s driver arrested for stealing priceless photos

Century-old royal images stolen during a fire and sold off to collectors

Police arrest suspect Nava Hongsakul in front of Royal Thai Police headquarters in Bangkok on Tuesday afternoon. (Police photo)

Police have arrested the driver of an advertising tycoon on charges of stealing four century-old photos from the mansion of his boss during a fire in May.

Detectives arrested Nava Hongsakul, 36, while he was driving a luxury van in front of Royal Thai Police headquarters in Pathumwan district of Bangkok at 2pm on Tuesday, said Pol Maj Gen Theeradet Thumsuthee, investigative commander of the Metropolitan Police Bureau.

According to the commander, Mr Nava applied to be a driver for Krisana Thanomsab, chief executive officer of Belink Media, in 2022. Within a year, the Samut Prakan native was entrusted to enter all areas of his boss’s mansion on Udomsuk Road.

On May 4, a fire broke out in the house. It started in the electrical power control room and consequently the CCTV was shut down. The suspect brought his boss out of the residence safely.

Detectives learned that the suspect then returned to the evacuated mansion amid the chaos and stole four photographs of King Rama V that date from about 120 years ago. Later the suspect returned to work as usual.

After the fire was put out, the employer found out that the photographs, which have royal autographs and are part of a family inheritance, were lost. He filed a complaint with police.

Detectives learned that collectors in Chon Buri, Nakhon Pathom and Nonthaburi provinces had bought the photographs at a combined price of 100,000 baht.

Pol Maj Gen Theeradet said the suspect confessed that he had sold the photographs, which were considered priceless, online.

Police said the suspect had faced criminal charges in the past for being a gambling host.

Some of the stolen photographs. (Police photo)