Kidnapper of baby tracked under watchful eyes of social networkers


Thai social networkers joined forces to look for a kidnapped nine-month-old boy until he was returned to his grandparents in Bangkok in less than 24 hours.

Ekkapop Saimai, a Bangkok politician, posted on his Facebook wall at 7.24pm Tuesday about a baby-kidnap case.

With multiple eyes looking for the stolen baby and with flood of tips from social networkers, the suspected kidnapper, who was believed to be an immigrant from a neighbouring country, was arrested in Rayong at 11.50pm.

The baby, called Martin, was taken back to Bangkok and returned to his Laotian grandparents at 2.30am Wednesday.

Kidnapper of baby tracked under watchful eyes of social networkers

Ekkapop, a failed Bhumjaithai election candidate in Bangkok, posted on his Facebook page that Martin, who was abandoned by his mother shortly after birth and raised by his grandparents, was taken away by Noi, a katoey.

Ekkapop recounted in the post that Noi came to work at a construction site where Martin’s grandparents also worked a week ago and asked permission to take the baby to a convenience store, where he disappeared.

Ekkapop said the kidnapping took place the Bang Na pier community near Wat Bang Na Nok in Bangkok, and a complaint was filed with the Bang Na police station.

Inthak Peun, 55, the Laotian grandfather, told police that Noi told him she would take Martin to buy a toy at 7-Eleven at 3pm, but she did not return.

Kidnapper of baby tracked under watchful eyes of social networkers

After the post was made, Ekkapop and his followers received a lot of information about the lost baby.

Some informants said they saw someone carrying the baby at the Bang Na Intersection at 4pm.

More tips from social networkers came in, informing Ekkapop’s team that the suspected kidnapper was seen at Mochit Bus Terminal 2 at 7pm.

Noi was seen buying a ticket on a minibus to Rayong.

Footage from security cameras at the bus terminal showed Noi carrying the baby on to the minibus.

Then very useful information that helped nab the alleged kidnapper was posted on Ekkapop’s page at 11.30pm.

A Thai woman posted a comment to Ekkapop’s post, saying she had spotted the kidnapped baby on the minibus to Rayong.

She stealthily took the photo of Noi and the baby and posted it on Ekkapop’s page.

The information helped lead police to arrest Noi at the Rayong bus terminal at 11.50pm.

Noi was taken to Bang Na police station at 2.10am on Wednesday for questioning. She testified that she wanted a baby but since he could not conceive a child, she decided to steal Martin.

She said she did not plan to sell the baby to any human-trafficking ring but wanted to raise the baby as her own child.

At 2.30am, Pol Maj-Gen Noppasilp Poolsawat, deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, led a team of police to return the baby to Inthak.

Kidnapper of baby tracked under watchful eyes of social networkers

A joyful Inthak dropped to his knees before Noppasilp to express his gratitude. Startled, Noppasilp lowered himself to help Inthak up and told him not to pay respect to him as it was police’s duty to help people even if the victims might not be Thais.

Noppasilp said it was still not clear whether Noi was a Thai or an illegal migrant as he did not carry a Thai identification card and he could not sing the national anthem.

Police also failed to find Noi’s name in the household registration system.

Noi later told reporters that she wanted to raise the baby in Chanthaburi, where she would work at a pineapple plantation. She said she wanted to have a child as she was getting older without any child of her own.