A miraculous car collision reportedly saved a Chinese woman from a kidnap-ransom scheme in Thailand on Thursday.
Key details: The victim, a 27-year-old Chinese woman on a tourist visa, managed to escape her captor following a rear-end car collision on Bangkok’s Si Rat Expressway on Thursday.
Zhao Wulin, a 36-year-old man from Henan province, China, was arrested in front of Piyavate Hospital on Rama 9 Road in Bangkok at around 1 p.m. that day. Zhao, whom investigators learned was working as a chauffeur in Dubai and was in Thailand for a holiday, was initially charged with extortion, detention, impeding freedom and obscenity.
How it started: The woman, whose job is to arrange clients with cosmetic surgery in South Korea, reportedly met Zhao from a friend through the Telegram app. She agreed to a date with him on Wednesday, 10 days after they started speaking with each other.
What happened next: The woman claimed she felt dizzy after their meal and drinks and had no recollection of what happened that night. She reportedly woke up naked in Zhao’s home in Ramkhamhaeng 81 neighborhood the following day.
The scheme begins: Zhao reportedly took the victim out on a trip to Pattay. During their trip, the man allegedly threatened the woman and drove them to a remote area where he tied her ankle and demanded a ransom of 200,000 yuan (approximately $27,825).
The woman told Zhao she did not have that kind of money and instead said she could borrow 50,000 yuan (approximately $6,896) from her friend.
Escape and arrest: The victim managed to escape her captor when the silver Toyota Yaris car registered in Bangkok they were driving on rear-ended a white Toyota Fortuner SUV driven by 33-year-old Somphong Sisod, who insisted that Zhao wait for the insurance representative to arrive despite the latter telling the other man he would pay for the damage out of his pocket via a translator.
Meanwhile, the victim, with rope still tied around her ankle, fled the scene and got into a taxi before running into cops. They later arrested Zhao on the scene, much to Somphong’s surprise.
Criminal ties: Thai authorities noted that Zhao had no ties to Chinese fraud gangs during their investigation. They also checked if Zhao had an outstanding warrant in China or if there were records of him committing crimes in Thailand.