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Sad story may not be completely true

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Police investigators have doubts about some of a Ukrainian engineer's claims of being held captive in a local factory. 

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Sad story may not be completely true

Anatoliy Vdovychenko arrives at the Department of Special Investigation on Monday. APHICHIT JINAKUL

The story of a Ukrainian engineer claiming to have been held captive by a local gas factory for 14 years made news around the world.

There was much sympathy for the engineer, Anatoliy Vdovychenko, 57, who said his passport was confiscated by the factory owner and he was kept under 24-hour guard and forced to work without regular pay.

On Tuesday, he lodged a complaint with the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) against the Thai-owned Navanakhon Gas factory in Pathum Thani demanding legal action be taken against the factory. He also demanded that his employer pay him the wages he is due for the past 14 years.

Yesterday, however, investigators at Pathum Thani's Khlong Luang district station said they had doubts over Mr Vdovychenko’s main claim that he had been held captive in the factory.

They found the engineer lived in a dormitory in the factory compound and was free to go anywhere he liked.

"Factories in the Navanakhon industrial area, including Navanakhon Gas, are not hellish," said Khlong Luang police chief Permkiart Suriyawong.

The investigators were able to confirm Mr Vdovychenko’s other claims, however. His passport was confiscated and a factory representative admitted Navanakhon Gas had not paid him his promised 30,000 baht a month salary in full.

“The factory owner paid him only 1,000 to 2,000 baht a week," Pol Col Permkiart said.

The officer said the factory had been charged with hiring an alien worker without permission and failing to pay wages under the Labour Act.

Meanwhile, DSI officers have also raised doubts about the man's story after they questioned him on Monday.
Adapted from a story by King-oua Laohong in today’s Bangkok Post.

You can see our previous story here:

claim – to say that something is true although it has not been proved and other people may not believe it อ้าง
captive – kept as a prisoner or in a confined space ไม่สามารถหนีได้
local – in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about  ท้องถิ่น
sympathy – a natural feeling of kindness and understanding that you have for someone who is experiencing something very unpleasant ความเห็นอกเห็นใจ
confiscate – to take away ยึด
lodge a complaint – to make a formal statement to someone in authority that someone has done something wrong ยื่นคำร้อง
Department of Special Investigation – a government department investigating serious crimes involving influential people, organised crime, or crimes using highly sophisticated technology กรมสอบสวนคดีพิเศษ
legal – relating to the law or lawyers เกี่ยวกับกฎหมาย
employer – a person, company, or organisation that pays someone to work for them as a member of their staff นายจ้าง
wage – an amount of money that you earn for working, usually according to how many hours or days you work each week or month ค่าจ้าง
due – (of money) must be paid; owed to somebody as a debt, because it is their right or because they have done something to deserve it เงินที่ต้องชำระ
investigator – someone whose job is to officially find out the facts about something, especially a crime or accident  ตำรวจฝ่ายสอบสวนคดีอาชญากรรม
doubt – thinking that something is probably not true or that it probably does not exist ความสงสัย
dormitory – a large building in or near a college, university or factory, where students or workers live หอพัก
compound – an area enclosed by a fence or wall in which people work or live บริเวณ
hellish – extremely unpleasant ร้ายกาจ, โหดเหี้ยม,  เหมือนนรก
admit – to agree that something is true, especially when you are unhappy, sorry or surprised about it  ยอมรับ
salary – a fixed amount of money that you earn each month or year from your job เงินเดือน
charge – to accuse someone officially of committing a crime ตั้งข้อกล่าวหา
hire – to pay someone to work for you จ้าง
alien – a person who is not a citizen of the country in which they live or work  ชาวต่างชาติ, ชาวต่างประเทศ, คนต่างด้าว
permission – allowing someone to do something การอนุญาต,การอนุมัติ,การยินยอม
Act – a law passed by a country’s government พ.ร.บ. พระราชบัญญัติ
meanwhile – at the same time ในเวลาเดียวกัน

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