BMW buried belonging to American who left kingdom 10 years ago: police

A stripped BMW found buried in an oil palm plantation in Chalerm Prakiat district, Nakhon Si Thammarat, is seen after being dug up on Tuesday evening. (Photo: Nujaree Rakrun)

NAKHON SI THAMMARAT: The owner of the BMW car found buried in an oil palm plantation in Chalerm Prakiat district was an American who left Thailand nearly 10 years ago, police said on Wednesday.

Colonel Pol Anurak Pradubmook, police chief of Chalerm Prakiat, said the doors, roof and interior parts of the car had been removed. Officers were inspecting its chassis and engine numbers and suspected it was an unregistered vehicle.

Nakhon Si Thammarat Police Chief Pol Maj Gen Somchai Suetortrakul said the vehicle was a black BMW E46 belonging to Michel, 52, whose last name has not been released.

The American rented a house in the province of Phuket. Phuket police were now inspecting the property.

The car owner left Thailand on February 12, 2012 via Suvarnabhumi Airport. The Royal Thai Police will coordinate with the International Criminal Police Organization to locate Mr Michel and expand their investigation.

Yong Meesuk, a 52-year-old oil palm plantation worker, reportedly told investigators he came across an object he mistakenly thought were boat parts. He and other workers then dug up the ground and discovered that the object was the steering wheel of a car. They reported the find to the police.

Police used a backhoe to lift the vehicle, which was buried 1.5 meters deep.

Police use a backhoe to lift a stripped BMW, which was buried in a plantation in Nakhon Si Thammarat on Tuesday. (Photo: Nujaree Rakrun)

According to media reports, the German sedan may have been involved in illegal activities. He was probably buried to hide the evidence.

Police were investigating to see if village chief Anant Chukaeo, the owner of the plantation, had any connection to the vehicle and the American.

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