AFTER Southern Bangkok Criminal Court approved the detention of three Chinese kidnap suspects, two men and one woman, police said while they are having difficulty interrogating them because of language barrier they are not cooperating and have denied the charges, Naewna newspaper said today (Mar. 20).
Their arrest stems from the alleged kidnapping of Ms. Weng Meng Lu, 32, a Chinese master’s degree student, from Ekamai on Thursday night to only be released in Min Buri area on Friday morning after transfer of digital currencies worth 3.3 million baht.
The three suspects, identified as Mr. Ran Xiaoyong, 40, Mr. Nie Qi Zhen, 45, and Ms. Nie Li Jiao, 30, were apprehended in Aranyaprathet, Sa Kaeo province, and brought to Thonglor police station on Saturday.
Pol. Col. Pansa Amarapitak, head of Thonglor police station, said only one of the three suspects had been interrogated so far because of translation problems. Even so, all three are not cooperating with police and while admitting to knowing each other and being interested in digital currencies deny forcing the victim to transfer cryptocurrencies to them.
However police have surveillance camera clips as evidence as well as the victim’s testimony as she has identified the perpetrators.
During yesterday’s raid of the residence of one of the three suspects in Sukhumvit Soi 39 nine pieces of non-monetary evidence were found with some proving this suspect’s identity but details cannot be disclosed.
Investigation reveals that the female suspect had befriended the victim for a year after meeting her at the airport. She had asked her to dine together several times until she finally agreed to do so last Thursday night and was ransom kidnapped.
While the suspects had demanded that the ransom be paid in cryptocurrencies because they are difficult to trace and recover, Pol. Col. Pansa said his team has clear evidence of yuan transfers and the financial route.
The suspects likely planned the kidnapping over a long period because they knew the victim was very wealthy even though she dressed casually and did not show her wealth.
Although a check by Immigration Police did not uncover criminal records against the three suspects, Thonglor police are expanding their investigation to find other suspects.
Regarding a viral trend on Chinese social media warning people to not visit Thailand because of kidnap threat, Pol. Col. Pansa said they should only listen to what their government says and the official advisory.
Two of three Chinese kidnap suspects are being taken to court today, March 20, 2023. Photos: Naewna