Infected Israeli Tourist Surrenders After Manhunt

Ohad Baruch

An Israeli tourist who sparked a manhunt by leaving his Bangkok hotel without waiting for his COVID-19 test result, which proved positive, has surrendered to police on Koh Samui.

Ohad Baruch, 29, initially headed to Pattaya, but later went South to the holiday island. He turned himself in to police yesterday afternoon.

Samui district chief, Theerapong Chuaychoo, senior police and health officials went to the Samui Piar Bangrak restaurant in tambon Bo Phud to collect Mr Baruch around 12.30pm.

Mr Baruch earlier contacted authorities saying he wanted to surrender. After talks, he was taken to Koh Samui Hospital by ambulance for COVID-19 testing.

Niwet Saksri, assistant chief of the Koh Samui public health office, said they had begun searching for the tourist yesterday morning after being advised he had travelled to the island.

Deputy police spokesman Pol Col Kissana Phatanacharoen said yesterday afternoon that police had applied for a court warrant for Mr Baruch’s arrest.

Tourist Police had told Bangkok police that the tourist had contacted his embassy and said he would surrender to police on Koh Samui.

Metropolitan Police Bureau spokesman, Pol Maj Gen Jirasan Kaewsaeng-ek, said the test result showed Mr Baruch was infected with the Delta variant, not Omicron.

Mr Baruch arrived in Thailand early last Friday and was quarantined in a hotel in Sukhumvit while awaiting his RT PCR COVID-19 test result.

However, he left the hotel the next day without waiting for the result and took a taxi to Pattaya around 2pm. About the same time, the hotel was informed that his test was positive. Hotel staff reported his absence to Thong Lor police.

A police source said Mr Baruch arrived in Pattaya and tried to check in at a hotel, but failed to produce his passport and the hotel rejected him.

The source said Mr Baruch returned to Bangkok on Sunday and took a van south. There was a photo of him in Chumphon on Monday morning before he went to Koh Samui in the afternoon.

Thong Lor police have asked the Department of Disease Control to file a complaint against the tourist for failing to abide by disease control measures in violation of the emergency decree.