Mother suspects foul play in rescued daughter's 'suicide'

Mother suspects foul play in rescued daughter's 'suicide'

Jandee Boonbandong, the 45-year-old mother of Thanya Kongpeera, shows a photo of her daughter, who reportedly hanged herself at an emergency shelter in Malaysia after being rescued from the flesh trade. The mother suspects foul play, and insists her daughter would never have killed herself. (Photo by Chakkrapan Natanri)
Jandee Boonbandong, the 45-year-old mother of Thanya Kongpeera, shows a photo of her daughter, who reportedly hanged herself at an emergency shelter in Malaysia after being rescued from the flesh trade. The mother suspects foul play, and insists her daughter would never have killed herself. (Photo by Chakkrapan Natanri)

KHON KAEN: The mother of a 26-year-old woman reported to have hanged herself after being rescued from forced prostitution in Malaysia has called on authorities to launch an investigation, saying she suspects foul play in her daughter's death.

Jandee Boonbandong, 45, sought help from provincial labour agencies after she was informed a few days ago of her daughter Thanya Kongpeera's death in Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah state in Malaysia.

The message was conveyed by the Foreign Ministry’s Consular Affairs Department. 

Ms Jandee said on Thursday that Thanya told her early this year that she was going to work as a waitress in South Korea on a salary of 70,000 baht a month. She wanted to earn more money for the family. 

Travel and additional expenses would be covered by an agent who had contacted her via a Facebook page named Daranibong Nurainee.

The family had warned her she could be duped into an illegal job abroad. 

Thanya later met the agent in Narathiwat in April. She told her family he would find her work as a waitress at a restaurant owned by Thais in Malaysia.

She later called Ms Jandee from Malaysia, saying did have a waitressing job at a restaurant, but she was also being forced to work as a prostitute.

“Nong Ple (her nickname) refused to work as a prostitute so she was locked up in a room upstairs at the restaurant. She was left without food and water for many days,” her mother said.

Thanya then contacted her relatives and friends, saying she was forced into prostitution. She also asked her mother to wire money to the agent’s bank account to secure her freedom, but Ms Jandee said the family was too poor and did not have the money.

The family then sought help from Thai authorities, which contacted the Thai embassy in Kuala Lumpur, resulting in the rescue of Thanya and two other Thai women from the brothel.

After being rescued, Thanya called her family, saying she would return home soon. She never did. Instead  they were later informed of her death.

Malaysian police told the embassy that her daughter hanged herself inside a room at an emergency shelter in Kota Kinabalu. Her body was kept there at Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Ms Jandee believes there was foul play in her daughter’s death. Thanya had said she wanted to come home every time she called. She had never said she wanted to die.

The mother also said Thanya also told her she was physically assaulted by a woman at the shelter. 

Khon Kaen governor Somsak Jangtrakul said he had instructed the Provincial Social Development and Human Security Office and other agencies to talk to the victim’s family, to find out who persuaded Thanya to work abroad and whether she was working legally.

“If the case is linked to human trafficking, a thorough investigation must be made to provide full assistance for the victim’s family,” he said.

Ms Jandee said her daughter's body was being brought back to Thailand by Malaysia Airlines, and she would meet the flight at Suvarnabhumi airport on Friday afternoon. The body would be sent to Police General Hospital for a post-mortem examination to determine the cause of death.


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