StanChart robbery: Suspect gave himself up when cornered

Canadian didn't put up any struggle at hostel; cash seized

Roach, 26, in a picture taken at Bangkok airport, and released by Thai police yesterday.
Roach, 26, in a picture taken at Bangkok airport, and released by Thai police yesterday. PHOTO: REUTERS

The man suspected to be behind last week's lunchtime robbery at a Standard Chartered Bank branch in Holland Village was yesterday identified by Thai local media as Canadian citizen David James Roach, 26.

He was arrested by Thai police on Sunday in a 12-bed mixed dormitory room at the Boxpackers Hostel in Bangkok's popular Ratchathewi district.

Just before noon, more than 10 plain-clothes police officers holding guns were led by a hotel worker to the dormitory on the fourth storey. A few guests were asked to leave the room quietly.

The officers then arrested Roach, who did not put up any struggle. Two officers held his wrists as he was taken away from the hostel about 45 minutes later.

"Tens of thousands of dollars" in cash were seized by the Thai police following his arrest, reported Thai newspaper Kom Chad Luek.

Roach, who was born in Sydney, Australia, before he became a Canadian citizen, had walked into the StanChart branch last Thursday and passed the teller a slip of paper with his demands. He then fled with about $30,000 in cash.

Chinese newspaper Shin Min Daily News said it was Roach's first time in Singapore as a tourist. He had arrived in the country a few days earlier with the intention to commit the crime.

Shortly after he fled the scene, he took a taxi to Changi Airport for a flight he had booked in advance.

He arrived at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport at about 5pm Thailand time (6pm Singapore time) last Thursday.

Thai police carrying out their investigation at Bangkok's Boxpackers Hostel, where Roach - the Canadian suspect in last Thursday's StanChart branch robbery in Holland Village - was staying and later arrested. PHOTO: KOM CHAD LUEK

That night at about 10pm, he checked in at the Boxpackers Hostel and paid for a two-night stay on the spot. Carrying a backpack, he appeared calm and even asked the receptionist on duty about breakfast options.

As there were limited rooms available, Roach stayed in different dormitories each night, Shin Min said. He paid 520 baht (S$20) for a four-bed room on the first night and 470 baht for a six-bedder on the second night.

He later extended his stay for a third night.

The suspect's whereabouts were traced by Thai investigators, who used footage from closed-circuit television cameras in the hostel and the surrounding streets.

When he was later questioned by the Thai police, he demanded to meet a Canadian Embassy officer.

A senior official at the Canadian Embassy in Bangkok confirmed yesterday that the embassy is providing consular assistance to the suspect.

A spokesman for the High Commission of Canada in Singapore said it is aware that a Canadian citizen has been detained in Thailand.

The Singapore police are working with the Thai authorities to see whether the suspect can be released into Singapore's custody.

As of yesterday, the suspect remained in the custody of Thai authorities at an immigration detention centre in Bangkok.

The Thai police are expected to hold a press conference on the case today.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 13, 2016, with the headline StanChart robbery: Suspect gave himself up when cornered. Subscribe