Two Americans and a Thai have been arrested by Crime Suppression Division (CSD) police over their alleged role in the kidnapping of a Taiwanese businessman over a business conflict.
Their arrest was revealed by deputy commissioner of the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) Pol Maj Gen Jiraphop Phuridet on Saturday night, at a press briefing also attended by CSD commander Pol Maj Gen Suwat Saengnoom among other senior officers.
The Americans were identified as Jeremy Hughes Manchester, 41, and Louis William Ziskin, 52, while the Thai national was identified as Ekbodin Prasitnarit. The trio faces charges which include illegal assembly, abduction, attempted murder, and extortion.
According to Pol Maj Gen Phuridet, the conflict began late last year, when Mr Ziskin appointed Collection Company Limited, run by a woman he identified only as “Mrs Emily”, to negotiate with the Paddy The Room Trading Company Limited for the purchase of nitrile gloves.
A business conflict ensued between the two sides, causing Mr Ziskin to suffer more than 93 million baht in damages, Pol Maj Gen Phuridet said, without giving details about the dispute.
Mr Ziskin hired Michael Greenberg, an Israeli man who runs a private detective service in Thailand, to retrieve the money. Mr Greenberg and his Thai and foreign collaborators allegedly planned the abduction.
Pol Maj Gen Phuridet said they contacted Wen Yu Chung, 60, a Taiwanese representative of the Collection Company in Thailand, under the pretext of wanting to buy rubber gloves from the Paddy The Room Trading Company. They made a time to meet at L’Oliva, a restaurant in Bangkok’s Sukhumvit Soi 36, on 28th March.
As Mr Chung was waiting at the restaurant, the deputy commissioner said, Mr Greenberg and friends, arrived, grabbed him, and put him in handcuffs. They took him from the restaurant to a room at NT Place about 200 metres away on Soi Sukhumvit 36, where several people were waiting.
The abductors assaulted Mr Chung and used his telephone to call Mrs Emily to demand US$2 million (about 62.7 million baht) from her.
They also called his relatives, demanding another $1 million in return for Mr Chung’s safe release.
Neither Mrs Emily nor the relatives yielded to the demand but instead contacted the police.
Their ransom demands rebuffed, the abductors took Mr Chung to Nadimos restaurant in Sukhumvit Soi 24 to talk to Mr Ziskin.
Eventually, Mr Chung was released and went to a hospital for treatment. He later went to Thong Lor police station to file a complaint against those who conspired to hold him for ransom.
Following a police investigation, arrest warrants were issued for eight people – seven foreigners and a Thai national.
Police arrested Mr Manchester, Mr Ziskin and Mr Ekbodin in Bangkok, Pol Maj Gen Phuridet said.
All three denied the charges. They were handed over to Thong Lor police for further legal proceedings.