Samut Prakan Province —
Thai Police arrested two excise officials and another suspect for allegedly kidnapping a worker from a Chinese-run phone shop in Samut Prakan on Wednesday, January 18th. The suspects allegedly demanded a ransom of 300,000 baht in exchange for the worker’s freedom.
Police officers from the Samut Prakan police station conducted an investigation after the owner of a phone shop, Mr. Wu Yiwen, a 31-year-old Chinese national, came to report the case yesterday at 3:30 PM.
Mr. Yiwen told police that 7-8 men, who claimed to be officers from the Excise Department, showed up at his shop located in Soi U-Thong in the Mueang district around noon. The men entered the store to look around but then allegedly forced his employee, Ms. Monthira Jaiprom, 21, into their vehicle and drove away.
The Chinese shop owner was not at the shop at that time. He said he was also the brother of the abducted worker.
The suspects took Ms. Monthira to the front of the Samut Prakarn Provincial Excise Office and stopped the vehicle. They then allegedly told her to call her brother to pay them 300,000 baht in a “fine,” claiming her brother had been selling tax-evading goods.
Mr. Yiwen told police he did not trust the suspects, so he came to report the incident for help.
Pol. Lt. Col. Chatchaphong Khaosa-Saard, an investigating officer at the Samut Prakan police station, told the victim to lure the suspects to meet him at a gas station near the Royal Thai Naval Academy.
Police hid around the gas station until the victim handed a paper envelope containing 50,000 baht to the suspects waiting in a Toyota pickup. The ransom had been negotiated down from 300,000 baht to 50,000 by Mr. Yiwen prior to the meeting.
The police managed to catch three suspects, two of which claimed to be excise officers and one civilian. They insisted that the money was a fine, not a ransom. The authorities, however, did not believe them, so they took the suspects to the police station for questioning.
The two suspects were indeed from the Excise Department, said the police. Their identities were reserved pending an investigation.
The police added that a group of suspects did flee the arrest and were at large.