By Suriya Patathayo
The victim Jiranee Chaiyapuriwong, 43, met with Deputy National Police Commissioner Pol General Srivara Ransibrahmanakul on Thursday at the police headquarters in Bangkok, and without hesitation identified the latest apprehended suspect – the alleged gang leader Sutthiroj Thonkoh, 48 - as an alleged culprit.
The victim knew the man from previous interactions, as he was the ex-husband of an employee of the victim. She also had previously recognized his photo from a nabbed suspect’s phone and recognized his voice at the time of her abduction.
Jiranee said she had had no previous conflict with Sutthiroj and so believed he gotten greedy and just wanted to rob her.
The four previously arrested suspects – Kampan Thonkoh, 51, Somchai Meesat, 37, Krissada Prawiset, 45, and Jitratda Hensida, 39 – had implicated Sutthiroj as the man who hired them to abduct the victim.
Sutthiroj surrendered to the police after they issued an arrest warrant for him.
Jiranee said she had been contacted by the suspects over a land purchase deal, which they invited her to discuss at an office building in Chon Buri’s Ban Bung district on March 10. When she went to the office, she was tied up and extorted for Bt5 million cash in exchange for her freedom, she said in testimony to the police. Facing threats to her life, the frightened woman agreed to pay but asked for a discount to Bt3 million – for which she withdrew Bt100,000 from an ATM in Ban Bung as an advance deposit while waiting for an employee to wire the remainder to her account.
While waiting for the wired money, the suspects kept her in a constantly moving car until they reached a gas station in Wang Noi district. She asked to go to the toilet but instead made a run for it and asked for help from people inside a convenience store, prompting the suspects to flee.