Chinese kidnappings for ransom in Thailand are expected to continue. The police said they are just in the final stages of investigating these incidents. The root cause must be addressed.
Following a series of ongoing Chinese kidnap for ransom cases involving Chinese nationals in Thailand, including Bangkok, four cases in March and three more in April, Thailand has come under criticism for becoming a hotspot for Chinese kidnapping and ransom payments.
Pol. Lt. Gen. Thitirat Sangsawang, Bangkok police commander, said police are in the final stages of investigating these incidents. It is better for authorities issuing documents requiring inspection or visas, such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to check Chinese travellers entering the country. This includes collecting taxes from Chinese nationals doing business in the country.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Interior should check whether Chinese nationals are in possession of a Thai ID card, as this could prevent illegal activities by Chinese nationals.
He added that after there were several cases of Chinese causing the incidents themselves, it has now come to the point where some Thais got involved. Pol. Lt. Gen. Thitirat said that further inspections of Chinese residences may be required, in coordination with police officers who check people entering the country, to ensure that they are in the country legally.
In addition, authorities will investigate any Chinese who have committed crimes in the past or are currently circumventing the law in the region to speed up the resolution of this issue.
In the latest case of the Chinese kidnapping, police arrested and remanded two Chinese couples, Mr Ah Ming and Ms Xiao Lei, and three other Chinese and Thai suspects, a total of five persons, on 19 April. Another Chinese person fled the country.
All were suspected of being involved in the kidnapping of a Chinese guide for a ransom of 1.8 million baht. They claimed that the ransom was to be used for the bail of another Chinese friend who had previously been prosecuted in Thailand.
At the preliminary hearing, Mr Ah Ming claimed that he had previously given the victim 2 million baht to post bail for a Chinese friend. However, after some time had passed, nothing happened and when he asked for the money back, it was not returned.
Therefore, Ah Ming contacted the group of suspects, both Thai and Chinese, and they met at a café in the Taopoon area to discuss the matter. Then they kidnapped the victim and held him captive in a hotel in the Sathorn area.
The victim, who was a tour guide, had taken Chinese tourists to Thailand several times in the past and expected to be familiar with many other businesses. The money transferred to the group of suspects amounted to over 960,000 baht. The police investigated and confiscated 440,000 baht of the money.
Pol. Lt. Gen. Thitirat revealed the findings of the investigation that this case proceeded in a series of steps, starting with making arrangements, booking cars and accommodation, using a shuttle service as a middleman and even handing over the belongings to a third party who used a public taxi.
There were also preparations to separate the passengers and distribute them among the cars, which drove one after the other in a procession. This was considered a professional operation.
The police believe that there are still people planning similar incidents and hiding, waiting for the right time. This behaviour is similar to that of the “Piggy Gang” who kidnapped and extorted victims over 20 years ago and when they are not satisfied, they may resort to murder.
He said if the public has any information, please report it to 191 and the authorities will share confidential information with the police for further investigation.