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Vietnamese Businessman Held Hostage for 10 days, Pays 25 Million Baht (US$796,000)



Lo Thi Thien Thanh is suspected of cheating a Vietnamese businessman in a con that lead to him being kidnapped and tortured

BANGKOK – Police in Thailand have rescued a Vietnamese businessman who was held hostage for 10 days after being cheated by another Vietnamese into paying the latter’s debts of 25 million baht (US$796,000).

According to Thai police, Pham Tien Th., 50, was found unconscious with his legs and hands bound in a hotel room in Nakhon Si Thammarat Province, some 780 kilometers from Bangkok.

Victim Pham Th. – Photo: Thai police investigation provided

He had bruises all over his body and injuries to four ribs. Police said they were informed of the hostage situation by Th.’s son, Pham Hoang T., who came to Thailand after his father called home and told his family to bring the money to pay the kidnappers.

Police said the Vietnamese man, who trades in farm produce, came to the province around mid-September at the invitation of Lo Thi Thien Thanh, a Vietnamese woman, for an opportunity of business partnership.

After meeting with some Thai people with Thanh as an interpreter, he stayed at the hotel, waiting to sign a contract.

However, the next morning, a group of Thai people broke into his room, cursing at him and beating him.

With a little knowledge of the Thai language, Th. understood that the people were ordering him to pay a debt of 25 million baht, police said.

He tried to explain to them that he did not know anything about the debt, but they held him captive and tortured him for ten days until he agreed to write and sign a debt note and call his family, asking them to fly to Thailand with the money for payment.

After being rescued, the victim returned to Vietnam, Thai police said.
Major Prayon Lasua, chief of the investigation division on the case, told Thanh Nien that they were hunting Thanh and some Thai suspects.

He said Thanh, who worked as interpreter and middleman for many Vietnamese and Thai businesses, owed the sum of money to a Thai husband and wife.

She then lured Th. to Thailand, and took him to meet her creditors, but told him that they were business people.

On the other hand, she told the creditors that Th. was her brother and that he would pay the debt for her in a few days.

During the meeting, while the Thai creditors were talking about the debt, Thanh interpreted it into a business deal, Lasua said.

After that, because Thanh was out of touch, the creditors assigned thugs to harass Th.

Thai police suspected Thanh of many similar cheats in the northeastern and southern areas of Thailand, Lasua said.

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