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Police search for infected tourist who left quarantine hotel

BANGKOK: Police are tracing a recent Israeli arrival who left his Bangkok hotel without waiting for his COVID-19 test result, which later returned positive.

International passengers await COVID-19 testing upon arrival at Suvarnabhumi airport on Monday (Dec 20). Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb

He initially headed to Pattaya, but was reported to have later gone south to Koh Samui, reports the Bangkok Post.

Immigration and tourist police were working with local police in the search for the infected man.

The man arrived in Thailand in the early hours of Dec 17 and was quarantined at a hotel in Sukhumvit area while awaiting his RT PCR COVID-19 test result.

However, he left the hotel the next day without waiting for the result and reportedly took a taxi to Pattaya around 2pm. About the same time, the hotel was informed that the man’s test was positive for the coronavirus. Hotel staff reported his absence to Thong Lor police.

A source said the tourist arrived in Pattaya and tried to check in at a hotel, but failed to produce his passport and the hotel rejected him.

Thai media reported that the man had travelled to Pattaya from Bangkok in a taxi driven by Nit Kaosaeng, from in front of the Emporium department store, and paid B2,500 for the trip.

Thai media named the Israeli tourist as “Mr Ohad”.

Reports said he had returned to Bangkok on Dec 19 and had rented a van to the southern provinces. There was a photo of him in Chumphon on Monday morning before he went to Koh Samui of Surat Thani in the afternoon of that day, according to the reports.

Pol Lt Gen Archayon Kraithong, deputy commissioner of the Immigration Bureau, was heading the team tracing the missing tourist.

The police team checked his mobile phone use record around 10:30pm on Dec 18 and found that he turned off his phone.

Thong Lor police have asked the Department of Disease Control to file a complaint against the tourist for failing to abide by disease control measures in violation of the emergency decree. The offence carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison and/or fine of B40,000.

He also faces a charge of being a foreign national who failed to stay in a place he was permitted to stay while in the country. The offence carries a fine of up to B5,000.

Police believe some Thais might be helping the missing man.

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