A THIEF took less than a minute to steal a century-old Thai- and Chinese-language shop sign and zoom off on a motorcycle in northeastern Kalasin province with police suspecting that a black market order had been placed for this beautiful sign, Thai News Agency said today (June 21).
A distressed Ms Chiraporn Laophongphit, 58, reported the theft to police at Kamalasai station early Sunday morning after noticing that it was missing.
She said this old shop sign, which was 45 centimeters wide and 75 centimeters long, was put up by her ancestors when they opened the business over a century ago and the shop’s name “Oojua Laosungee” was also her father’s name.
Ms Chiraporn agreed with police that an order was most likely placed for this old sign by the black market because earlier someone had bought an old cabinet from her shop at a high price and also wanted to buy the sign but she refused to part with it. She gave police 10,000 baht to put up as a reward to anyone who helps find it.
Police investigation and a security camera footage indicate that the thief, who covered his face with a bamboo hat, climbed on top of a table and then up the doorway before clipping and removing the sign at 8 pm on June 15 and zipped away on a navy blue motorcycle.
Pol. Col. Arkhom Narin, deputy chief of Kamalasai police station, said investigators are already working hard on this case and are chasing the thief but believes an order was placed for this sign by collectors of artifacts some of whom use this sort of old objects to decorate their restaurants.
This sign was additionally valuable because it was made of red wood which is considered lucky and difficult to find and the price could be as high as 40,000 baht.
He warned Thais of Chinese ancestry who have this type of shop signs to keep them within their homes to prevent theft.
Top: The beautiful old shop sign that was stolen a few days ago. Photo:
Thai News Agency
Inset: The victim, Ms Chinda, outside her shop in Kalasin province. Photo: Thai News Agency