Police return King Taksin’s sword stolen by ‘drug war’ vigilante

King Taksin was ready for the Burmese again, his blade back in reach, after police recovered it from a Chanthaburi man who “borrowed” it to fight his own war.

The meter-long, silver blade was resting once again on its stand by the 18th century monarch’s statue today, a day after it was spirited away by 21-year-old Kaltavut Chanarhan. 

As shrine caretaker Young Hinon explained, Kaltavut just walked in and took it, asking him not to notify the police as he needed the sword “to fight the drug war.” Young, 68, said Kaltavut vowed to return it to the shrine – presumably once all drugs were defeated – before driving off on a motorbike.

The whole thing was caught on CCTV.

Col. Yodchai Chumpathong of the provincial police force said they immediately knew it was Kaltavut because he had “borrowed” things from the late king before. So they searched his home and found the sword and other shrine offerings.

Kaltavut wasn’t there, but they found mental health records and medication. 

In his defense, Yodchai noted that he’d never sold the stolen sacred items, but rather kept them in his own collection.


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