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Thai official released after stealing paintings from Japanese hotel

Authorities in Bangkok have suspended the deputy director-general of the Department of Intellectual Property Suphat Saguandeekul, after the state official was detained in Japan for the theft of three paintings.

Suphat was taking an official business trip in Kyoto, when he was arrested by the Japanese police. According to the prosecutors, the Thai official had tried to steal three paintings from his hotel in Kyoto, but was caught. The paintings were worth close to 4.600 baht, a small figure, and the Japanese prosecutors considered the theft a misdemeanour which was not premeditated and did not cause damage to others. Mr. Suphat was released on Friday and left for Osaka, where his family was waiting for him.

“Damages have been paid to the hotel and the Thai Osaka consular office is arranging for Mr Suphat to meet his family who’s there,” said Spokesman Sek Wannamethee of the Department of Intellectual Property.

In Thailand, Minister of Commerce Apiradi Tantraporn announced on Sunday that Mr. Suphat has been suspended from office and is pending an investigation into his behavior.

“He said he was sorry for what happened and apologised to his superior, fellow officials and all Thais for what he had done,” added Mrs. Tantraporn in a news conference.

The investigation will be carried under supervision from the Office of the Civil Service Commission (OCSC), the Prime Minister’s Office and the Commerce Ministry. According to Mrs Tantraporn, the results will be available during the next week and the decision will be deferred to Mr. Suphat’s superiors at the Department of Intellectual Property.

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