In what is one of the weirdest crime stories ever in Chiang Mai, three people have been arrested after kidnapping a prominent Hmong villager in Mae Taeng and demanding a 25 million baht ransom.
The three hapless kidnappers, named as Mr. Sittakul, 37 from Tak, Mr. Teerothorn, 32 from Mae Taeng and Ms. Hathairat, 21 from Pai – all three also Hmong, kidnapped Mrs. Li Lao Zhang, 50, originally from Chiang Dao but living in Mae Taeng Aug. 29 before holding her at a location in Phaya Mengrai, Chiang Rai.
The kidnappers contacted Mrs. Li’s son and demanded a payment of 25 million baht with instructions that the payment be left in a garbage bin at a “famous” Chiang Mai University on Chiang Mai-Phrao Road (Highway 1001) in San Sai.
The son contacted Mae Taeng police and two of the kidnappers were subsequently arrested at the designated ransom drop off point Sept. 4.
Following the arrest, the two kidnappers led police to Mrs. Zhang at the Chiang Rai location where she was being held, complete, Hollywood movie style, tied to a chair.
A further two people are currently being sought by police in relation to their role in planning the kidnapping.
Police have thrown the book at the trio with charges including kidnapping, firearms offenses, “causing public mayhem” and naturally there are a couple of drugs charges thrown in for good measure. It’s not clear as a number of the Thai language reports differ but there is some suggestion that the victim may have been sexually assaulted as well.