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Aussie tourist arrested in Thailand over discovery in check-in baggage

An Australian man travelling with his family in Southeast Asia was allegedly caught with a gun inside his luggage during a routine baggage check at the airport.

The 41-year-old Sydneysider, identified by authorities as Mark Bassal, was on holiday in Thailand with his wife and three children when he allegedly tried boarding a plane last Wednesday with a handgun and 96 rounds of ammunition, local police said, the Thai Examiner reported.

When trying to board the plane from Ko Samui Airport to Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bankok, an X-ray of the family's luggage allegedly revealed the illegal possessions, and police officers were called.

A photo of Mark Bassal, 41, surrounded by officers in Thailand for illegal gun and ammunition possession, with the gun and bullets laid out on the table.
Sydneysider, Mark Bassal, 41, was arrested in Ko Samui Airport, Thailand, while trying to board a flight with a handgun and 96 rounds of ammunition. Source: Bangkok Post (Bangkok Post)

The gun was reportedly disassembled, and the ammunition was spread between seven bags.

Mr Bassal claimed to officers that he bought the firearm from a shop in Ko Samui for personal use, believing it to be legal. According to the Bangkok Post, he purchased it for self defence while travelling.

The father also told authorities the family was flying to Singapore from Bangkok, and then returning to Sydney, however no flights were found to be booked after Bangkok, local media reports.

Photos allegedly showing the contents of the family's suitcase. Source: Thai Examiner
Photos allegedly showing the contents of the family's suitcase. Source: Thai Examiner

Sydney man to front court in Thailand

After being taken into custody and transferred to a police station on the island, Mr Bassal was reportedly given bail, and is to attend court at a later date after being charged with illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.

According to local media, police believe the Sydney man does not have a criminal background and didn't buy the gun to commit an offence in Thailand. Both the gun and ammunition has since been seized.

Yahoo News Australia has reached out for comment from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

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