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Thai official resigns after stealing paintings, says he was drunk

By
Allen Cone
Suphat Saquandeekul, who was deputy director of the Commerce Ministry's Department of Intellectual Property, admitted lifting three paintings off the corridor walls of a hotel in Kyoto, Japan. Photo by Corpse Reviver/Wikimedia Commons
Suphat Saquandeekul, who was deputy director of the Commerce Ministry's Department of Intellectual Property, admitted lifting three paintings off the corridor walls of a hotel in Kyoto, Japan. Photo by Corpse Reviver/Wikimedia Commons

Jan. 31 (UPI) -- A government official in Thailand announced his resignation Tuesday, admitting he was drunk when he stole three paintings from a hotel in Japan.

Suphat Saquandeekul, the deputy director of the Commerce Ministry's Department of Intellectual Property, lifted the artwork worth $125 from the hallways of a hotel where he was staying in Kyoto.

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Suphat, who had attended a conference in Osaka, was working for a department attempting to improve Thailand's reputation.

The paintings were found in his bags after security video caught him taking them.

Supchat, 60, who was due to retire at the end of September after 33 years in government, was arrested on Jan. 24. He was released after he compensated the hotel and admitted he took the paintings.

"After I finished my mission in Japan I met with some university friends," he wrote in a letter distributed to the media. "We were drunk and I unconsciously and unintentionally committed an inappropriate act."

Prosecutors dropped the case but Wiboonlasana Ruamraksa, the commerce secretary, said a disciplinary hearing would continue even though he resigned.

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