Thai ‘banquet bandit’ likes to eat and run


Bangkok : Police arrested a Thai man for allegedly conning luxury car salesmen out of $4,844 in expensive meals at posh Bangkok restaurants, the Bangkok Post reported Sunday.

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Chatchawal Ngowkimseng, 28, was arrested June 13 when he attempted to flee the Sui Sian Chinese restaurant after consuming a 28,318 baht ($885) meal, including a $200 abalone steak, that he had no money to pay for.

According to police, on at least eight occasions he tricked luxury car salesmen into picking up the tab for 155,000 baht ($4,844) in expensive Chinese banquets over the past four months.

Chatchawal’s modus operandi was to meet salesmen of luxury brand cars such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Land Rover and Bentley at expensive Chinese restaurants to discuss a possible purchase, wolf down his meal and leave to make a phone call from which he would never return, leaving the salesman with the hefty bill.

“He wanted to discuss a purchase of seven BMW cars – for himself, his girlfriend and some friends, over dinner,” one BMW dealer, identified as Tui, told the Bangkok Post.

“He ordered the most expensive dishes on the menu and ate everything fast like he hadn’t eaten for a week,” she said, noting that the meal cost her company $688.

In Bangkok’s closely knit luxury car business, word of the “banquet bandit” spread and police were in place to make it his last supper when he arranged a dinner date with a salesman last week.

Chatchawal faces charges of unpaid bills and theft.