Chinese caught in kidnap plot

Chinese caught in kidnap plot

Police have arrested a Chinese national believed to be involved in abducting a compatriot businessman, torturing him and cutting off his little finger for a 30-million-baht ransom.

On Monday, Pattaya police were alerted to the abduction of the 40-year-old Chinese man, Ren Haibo. His Thai girlfriend told officers he went missing and the abductor demanded 30 million baht for his release. The family transferred 150,000 baht to the abductors but has not heard from them since, she said.

The man later managed to free himself, despite being tied up, and escaped from the house where he had been held captive in tambon Nong Prue of Bang Lamung district in Chon Buri on Tuesday.

Deputy national police chief Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn said that the abduction was perpetrated by a Chinese gang whose members have overstayed their tourist visas for more than a year.

Some had renewed their visas, posing as students, with the Udon Thani and Phrae immigration offices.

Pol Gen Surachate said the heads of the two immigration offices would be called by police to give statements on how the suspects acquired the visas.

“Granting student visas to those who are not students could be a ‘pull factor’ drawing criminals to Thailand.

“Police can now identify members of the Chinese gang (that abducted Mr Ren) but the investigation will take time to process,” said Pol Gen Surachate.

He said Mr Ren and the suspects may have been locked in a business dispute over their alleged connection with call-centre scams or drug trafficking.

Police said Mr Ren may have been taken from Pattaya Walking Street before being confined in a house in Bang Lamung district.