Chinese spa mogul abducted in Bangkok’s Phrom Phong area rescued by police


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Five suspects have been arrested in connection with the abduction of a Chinese businessman with links to the flesh trade from Bangkok’s Phrom Phong area, police said this morning.
The suspects, all men, were arrested yesterday in Suphan Buri province for allegedly abducting Chen Lei, aka Lucas, at around 4pm on Friday in Soi Sukhumvit 39, top metro cop Lt. Col. Pakkapong Pongpetra said at the Metropolitan Police Bureau.
Lei, who was found and freed by officers, made a cameo at the Wednesday morning presser to thank the police for rescuing him. “Thank you so much,” he said in Thai and English.
Pakkrapong denied rumors coursing through social media since yesterday that at least four foreign women had been abducted in the area between sois Sukhumvit 31 and 49, saying that was a “misunderstanding.” He did not explain how the victim went from being a Chinese woman as identified Tuesday by Thonglor police to being a Chinese man overnight.
Asked by a reporter if police would prosecute netizens who posted misinformation online that four foreign women had been abducted, Pakkrapong struck a thoughtful tone.
“We need to consider their intentions too,” he said. “Maybe they just wanted to alert people to be more cautious.”
According to Pakkrapong, Lei was seen forced into a white Mitsubishi Champ registered in Nonthaburi. His abduction was later reported to the Thonglor Police Station by his family, who said a ransom of CNY3 million (THB15 million) was demanded for his return.
Police did not specify which building in Soi Sukhumvit 39 Lei was kidnapped from, but investigators yesterday were focused on reviewing security cameras in Soi Phrom Chit.
Investigators found that two of the suspects – Suchart Bamrungpetch and Seow Tung Yin – were contractors who did work for Lei, who owns several spas in Bangkok, and claimed he had cheated them of about THB400,000 (US$13,300).
The police search for the vehicle involved in Lei’s kidnapping led them to the Pho House Resort in Suphan Buri province, just over 100 kilometers away.
There cops found the five suspects and seized evidence including a laptop, iPad, smartphones, Bluetooth speaker and a gold necklace, all worth roughly THB500,000, Pakkrapong said.
A reporter asked Lei if he had been beaten by his kidnappers, but the police interrupted to say the case was still ongoing and the question couldn’t be answered.
Pakkrapong said police are seeking two more suspects believed to be on the run.
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