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4 Thai immigration officers face arrest for abducting Chinese national, extorting thousands in cryptocurrency

March 23, 2023 Thailand Crime & Legal

Four immigration police officers in Thailand are facing arrest for kidnapping a Chinese man and his female interpreter and extorting 1 million baht (US$29,170) in cryptocurrency from them.

Deputy national police chief Surachate Hakparn on Tuesday said the March 10 incident came to light after the Thai woman filed a police report, alleging she and the Chinese national were abducted after they fell victim to an immigration scam.

The man had sought the help of the interpreter to renew his passport and visa at a government office in Bangkok but officials rejected his application, The Nation digital newspaper reported.

The duo eventually went back home where five men bundled them into a car and drove around a neighbourhood in the Thai capital before returning the victims to their residence.

Police said the captors also forced the man to cough up 30,000 USDT, the tether stablecoin pegged to the US dollar. He reportedly told his son to transfer the coins to the suspects through the imToken app.

Surachate said the men claimed to be innocent, adding that a further investigation revealed four immigration police bureau officers were linked to the case, the Bangkok Post reported.

He said arrest warrants had been issued against the officers and the Chinese man had fled to his home country.

In a separate case, a Chinese businessman lodged a police complaint after his wife and elder brother were kidnapped in Chonburi province, southeast of Bangkok.

The victims were returning home on Monday after dropping the man’s son at an international school in Bang Lamung district when the incident happened. A motorcycle-borne assailant waylaid their car and drove off.

Police said the businessman received a ransom call demanding 1 million yuan (US$145,500) for his relatives’ freedom.

Officers said he handed over 200,000 yuan (US$29,100) in cryptocurrency to the suspect, adding that a manhunt was on to locate the pair.

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