NAKHON SI THAMMARAT: An official has been arrested in connection with the disappearance of “hundreds” of invaluable historical manuscripts from the Arts and Cultural Centre of Nakhon Si Thammarat Rajabhat University.
The folding-book paper manuscripts, or samut khoi, contained stories and drawings featuring local history, traditions and cultures. Hundreds of these books have disappeared from the centre. They are believed to have been stolen and sold to people unaware they belonged to the university.
A centre has been set up to accept the books from anyone wishing to return them to the university.
Phrakhru Hemjetiyapiban, a senior monk who helped establish the centre, said so far 148 books have been returned along with seven ancient weapons.
An individual in Khon Kaen province who had some of the stolen books in possession has returned about 100 books in a big box by mail. The box will be opened on Aug 7 at 9am. Many people concerned have been invited to witness the opening of the box.
On Monday, police armed with a court warrant arrested Amnuay Thongthawai, an official at the audio-visual department of the Arts and Cultural Centre, on theft charges. Mr Amnuay denied the charges.
Mr Amnuay is the second suspect arrested in the case. Earlier, Thitipong Sirivech, 26, who was believed to have sold the stolen books online, was arrested and charged with theft or accepting stolen items. He was released on bail. But when the police summonsed him for another round of questioning, he disappeared.
With a court warrant, the police on Monday re-arrested Mr Thitipong in tambon Nong Bua in Ban Khai district, Rayong province.