Chinese Businessman Says He Was Extorted by Thai Police

Yian Tong and his wife Mananthacha Kasema file a complain with Chiang Mai police on 17 July 2015.

CHIANG MAI — A Chinese businessman told police in northern Thailand today that a man who claimed to be a police officer threatened to kill him if he did not fork over 4.3 million baht.

The businessman, Yian Tong, and his Thai wife, Mananthacha Kasema, filed the complaint with the Fifth Region Police in Chiang Mai. 

According to Mananthacha, Yian started a tour company and resort in Chiang Mai several years ago, and later leased the business to another Chinese busineman named Tong Wan under a one year-contract. However, six months after the contract started police raided the company for hiring staff without proper work permits and organizing group tours without registering with the Immigration police.

Tong Wan then asked to terminate the contract, and demanded that Yian pay him 4.3 million baht in damages, even though he still owed Yian more than 500,000 baht in rent, Mananthacha said.

"My husband and I didn't break the contract, and we are the victims in this because we don't get rent money from him," Mananthacha said.

After she and her husband refused to pay, they were reportedly contacted by a man who called himself Captain Nui and claimed to be the head of an investigation team with the Fifth Region Police.

Captain Nui reportedly said he was asked by Tong Wan to "collect" the 4.3 million baht from the pair, and threatened to kill the couple if they didn’t pay.

"We had to move, and we have been living in difficulty, because we fear for our lives," Mananthacha said, "So we decided to complain to the Chinese consulate in Chiang Mai and the Fifth Region Police." 

Pol.Maj.Gen. Pacha Rattanapan, the commander of the Fifth Region Police, said he believes Captain Nui is a fake cop, but said the investigation is still ongoing.

"Recently, there have been conflicts among Chinese businessmen who open their business in Chiang Mai province. People who claim to be police and military officers often get involved and threatened them, which affect investment in Chiang Mai province," Pol.Maj.Gen. Pacha told reporters. "I'd like to tell the public: if you have any problem, you must file complaint to police so we can proceed with legal action." 

Chiang Mai is a popular destination for Chinese tourists, some of whom arrive in the city from China by car. Official records say 4.5 million Chinese tourists visited Thailand in 2014 – more than any other nation – bringing in more than 190 billion baht in revenue for the Kingdom. 

CORRECTION: The lede mistakenly said Yian Tong was asked for 4.3 billion baht. The correct amount is 4.3 million baht.

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