Thai police have arrested a local woman believed to be the mastermind behind the recent high-profile kidnapping of a Chinese tourist at an airport in Bangkok.
Wansikan Termthanapat, 42, has been charged with kidnapping in connection with the abduction of Chen Jincai at Suvarnabhumi Airport. She also reportedly pointed a gun at Chen’s head while the woman was in custody, according to The Standard.
Nipon Buddharaksa, the Thai immigration officer identified in the viral CCTV footage escorting Chen out of the airport, was also arrested.
According to Tourist police deputy commander Major General Surachet Hakpan, they were among the six out of the 11 people arrested who were involved in the crime.
A source privy to the investigation further revealed that prior to the kidnapping, Chen and a Chinese business owner had a dispute over an unpaid debt.
Local media reported that this unnamed business owner hired Wansikan and the other accomplices consisting of Thai and Chinese nationals to kidnap Chen during her vacation in Thailand.
The group initially demanded three million yuan ($470,000) in ransom but received 1.9 million yuan ($300,000) from Chen’s Korean husband. The Chinese suspects reportedly fled with the money, as it already covered the victim’s original debt.
However, Wansikan kept Chen in her custody, demanding an additional five million Thai Baht ($160,000) from the husband. When Wansikan turned down the final offer of one million baht, Chen’s husband sought the help of Thai police on May 18.
As the authorities began their investigation, the kidnappers released Chen on the roadside in the Bang Na district of Bangkok on May 19 after 13 days in captivity. The police would later learn from the victim that she knew one of the Chinese suspects.
According to the two arrested suspects, identified as Samruay Timkaew, 38, and Nipon Weerasorn, 32, Wansikan hired them to guard the victim for 1,000 baht ($30) a day. They also revealed that Wansikan physically assaulted Chen and pointed a gun at her during her abduction.