StanChart robbery suspect's note to self: Take taxi and act normal

David James Roach, 27, at Don Muang Airport in Bangkok on July 7, 2016.
David James Roach, 27, at Don Muang Airport in Bangkok on July 7, 2016.PHOTO: EPA

Wear plain clothes, take a taxi and behave normally.

Singapore bank robbery suspect David James Roach, 27, had scribbled these three "points to note after carrying out a robbery" in a notebook that was recovered after his arrest in Bangkok, it was revealed yesterday.

On a separate page, he had also written in brackets "make money" next to a list of three cities - Singapore, Chiang Mai and Dubai - that formed his escape route, Major-General Apichart Suriboonya told Shin Min Daily News.

However, Maj-Gen Apichart, who heads Thailand's Interpol unit, added that Roach did not specify in his notebook plans to rob the Standard Chartered Bank branch in Holland Village last Thursday.

Roach, a Canadian, allegedly entered the bank at around 11.30am, passed the teller a slip of paper and fled to Bangkok on the same day with about $30,000 in cash.

On Sunday, he was nabbed at Boxpackers Hostel in Bangkok's Ratchathewi district, after Singapore issued an arrest warrant to the Thai authorities.

The Thai police were able to trace his whereabouts in 54 hours, deploying more than 100 officers to check 400 closed-circuit television cameras in the vicinity of Central World mall.

The first lead came from footage captured at the airport, which showed Roach boarding a white taxi, said Maj-Gen Apichart.

During a three-hour interrogation, he reportedly told an officer: "Please send me back to Canada, I don't want to return to Singapore."

Roach's profile on the Couchsurfing website, seen by The Straits Times, reveals that he is well travelled, having previously backpacked across Turkey and Iran.

A Couchsurfing user who hosted him in Turkey said: "He was with a woman companion... He was a backpacker and he really likes to travel."

His profile stated that he was planning a trip that would include stopovers in Norway and London, and possibly India or Sri Lanka.

Roach studied engineering in Calgary, and is from Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, in eastern Canada. Besides travelling, his interests include sports, reading and playing the piano.

On Wednesday, Thai immigration police chief Nathathorn Prousoontorn said that it would be possible for him to be extradited to Singapore, even though the two countries do not have an extradition treaty.

He clarified that Roach was detained because his right to stay in the country was cancelled after Singapore issued an arrest warrant.

Singapore has no extradition treaty with Thailand or Canada. In the event that Roach is deported to Canada, Singapore will have to pursue the case with the Canadian authorities.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 15, 2016, with the headline 'Robbery suspect's note to self: Take taxi and act normal'. Print Edition | Subscribe