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Kidnapped Japanese businessman rescued from Bangkok apartment

Jun 10. 2017
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By The Nation

A timely operation by police rescued a kidnapped Japanese businessman from an apartment in Bangkok late Friday night before he could have been murdered.

Tourist police and officers from Thonglor Police Station raided the Grand Hi-Tech Tower apartment on Ekkamai Soi 23 in Bangkok’s Vadhana district at 10.30pm and rescued Tsunemi Watanabe and arrested his alleged three abductors.

Police found Tsunemi tied with power cables to the bed inside room No 719 on the seventh floor. He had been tortured and his right leg was broken. He was later rushed to Bumrungrad Hospital.

His alleged captors, who were arrested in the room, were identified as Kobari Masato, Reo Tsuruzoe and Miyata Kiyoto.

Pol Maj-General Suthee Nanekunnathee, deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, said the rescue operation was planned after the Japanese businessman’s Thai wife filed a complaint with police on Wednesday that Watanabe had left his house since Monday and not returned.

The wife and Watanabe’s friends told police that the businessman might have been abducted by his Japanese friend, a construction contractor, with whom he has a long-running feud.

The wife said she received the last phone call from Watanabe on Tuesday, telling her not to look after him.

Suthee said police investigation showed a suspect in a white Toyota Vios car driving to buy something at the front of Sukhumvit Soi 26. Police traced the car and managed to rescue the Japanese businessman.

Suthee said police believed had the rescue operation been delayed, he would have been killed as the captors had tortured him into revealing the PIN code of his credit card for drawing cash. The card was used to withdraw cash on Friday morning.

Suthee said the captors had already arranged a saw, tapes for tying, black garbage bags and a large plastic sheet in the room.

Watanabe lives with his Thai wife in the Chaeng Wattana area. He received a phone call from the accused Kiyoto on Monday evening to come to his room on Sukhumvit Soi 49 to discuss business.

A police source said the three captors beat Watanabe with a baseball ball bat until his right leg was broken to force him to reveal his credit card PIN code.

The police source added that Watanabe had conflicts with Kiyoto three years ago when he hired Kiyoto to renovate a house in Japan but Tsuruzoe, who was sub-contractor, failed to complete the project on time. Watanabe fined Kiyoto 10,000 yen (Bt3,000) a day for the delay. Later on, he suspected that Tsuruzoe had allegedly stolen valuables worth 15 million yen from the house so Watanabe filed complaints against them with Japanese police.

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