THAILAND: In a dramatic turn of events, a 27-year-old Chinese woman visiting Thailand on a tourist visa narrowly escaped a harrowing kidnap-ransom scheme.
The incident unfolded on Thursday (14 Sept) on Bangkok’s Si Rat Expressway and has since captured international attention.
The victim, whose identity remains undisclosed, managed to evade her captor, 36-year-old Zhao Wulin from Henan province, China, following a rear-end car collision on the busy expressway.
Zhao, who had been working as a chauffeur in Dubai and was in Thailand for a holiday, was promptly apprehended in front of Piyavate Hospital on Rama 9 Road in Bangkok around 1 p.m. on the same day.
The ordeal began when the victim, whose profession involves arranging cosmetic surgery clients in South Korea, connected with Zhao through the Telegram app.
After just 10 days of conversation, they agreed to meet for a date.
According to the woman, she experienced dizziness after their meal and drinks during their date, leading to a gap in her memory.
She allegedly woke up the next day in Zhao’s residence in the Ramkhamhaeng 81 neighbourhood, naked and disoriented.
The scheme escalated when Zhao allegedly threatened the victim and took her on a trip to Pattaya.
In a remote area, he reportedly tied her ankle and demanded a ransom of 200,000 yuan (approximately US$27,825).
Unable to produce such a sum, the victim suggested borrowing 50,000 yuan (approximately $6,896) from a friend.
The turning point came when the vehicle they were in, a silver Toyota Yaris registered in Bangkok, collided with a white Toyota Fortuner SUV.
The driver of the SUV, 33-year-old Somphong Sisod, insisted that Zhao remain at the scene for an insurance assessment, despite Zhao’s promise to cover the damages himself through a translator.
Seizing this opportunity, the victim, still with a rope tied around her ankle, managed to escape.
She hailed a taxi and eventually encountered the police, who swiftly arrested Zhao on the spot, surprising Somphong with the unfolding events.
Thai authorities have since investigated Zhao for any ties to Chinese fraud gangs, outstanding warrants in China, or prior criminal activities in Thailand.
Thus far, no such connections or records have been found.
This remarkable escape from a kidnap-ransom plot serves as a reminder of the dangers that can lurk in unsuspecting encounters while travelling.
The victim’s quick thinking and the chance collision on the expressway ultimately saved her from what could have been a devastating ordeal.