Two Americans, one Thai arrested for alleged abduction

Two Americans, one Thai arrested for alleged abduction

Crime Suppression Division police escort one of two American nationals arrested over the alleged kidnapping of a Taiwanese businessman on Saturday. (Crime Suppression Division photo)
Crime Suppression Division police escort one of two American nationals arrested over the alleged kidnapping of a Taiwanese businessman on Saturday. (Crime Suppression Division photo)

Two male Americans and a Thai man have been arrested by Crime Suppression Division (CSD) police over the alleged kidnapping of a Taiwanese businessman for ransom following a business conflict.

The arrests of the three men were revealed at a press conference on Saturday night by Pol Lt Gen Jiraphop Phuridet, deputy commissioner of the Central Investigation Bureau, in the presence of Pol Maj Gen Suwat Saengnoom, the CSD commander, and some other CSD officers.

The Americans were identified as Jeremy Hughes Manchester, 41, and Louis William Ziskin, 52, and the Thai man as Ekbodin Prasitnarit.

The three faced numerous charges, including illegal assembly, attempted murder, extortion and abduction for ransom.

According to Pol Lt Gen Jiraphop, in late 2020 Mr Ziskin appointed the Collection Company Limited -- run by a woman he identified only as Mrs Emily -- to negotiate with the Paddy The Room Trading Company Limited for the purchase of nitrile gloves.

An ensuing business conflict between the two sides caused Mr Ziskin to suffer more than 93 million baht damages, Pol Lt Gen Jiraphop said, without giving details about the dispute.

Mr Ziskin hired Michael Greenberg, an Israeli man who opened a private detective company in Thailand in 2020, to retrieve the money. 

Mr Greenberg and his Thai and foreign collaborators then allegedly planned an abduction. They contacted Wen Yu Chung, 60, a Taiwanese representative of the Collection Company in Thailand, under the pretext of wanting to buy rubber gloves from the Paddy The Room Trading Company. They made an appointment to meet at L'Oliva, a restaurant in Bangkok's Sukhumvit Soi 36, on March 28.

As Mr Chung was waiting in the restaurant, the deputy commissioner said, Mr Greenberg and friends arrived, grabbed him and put him in handcuffs. They then took him from the restaurant to a room at NT Place about 200 metres away on Soi 36, where several other people were waiting. 

The abductors assaulted Mr Chung and used his telephone to call his boss, Mrs Emily, and demand 2 million US dollars from her. They also called his relatives, demanding another 1 million US dollars in return for Mr Chung's safe release.

Neither Mrs Emily nor the relatives yielded to the demand, but instead contacted police. 

Their ransom demands rebuffed, the abductors later took Mr Chung to Nadimos restaurant in Sukhumvit Soi 24 to talk to Mr Ziskin. 

Eventually, Mr Chung was released and went to a hospital for treatment. He then went to Thong Lor police station to file a complaint against those who conspired to hold him for ransom.

Following a police investigation, arrest warrants were issued for eight persons - seven foreigners and a Thai.

Police arrested Mr Manchester, Mr Ziskin and Mr Ekbodin in Bangkok, Pol Lt Gen Jiraphop said without elaborating on the circumstances of the apprehension.

All three denied the charges. They were handed over to Thong Lor police for further legal proceedings.

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