Three suspected members of a kidnapping gang were arrested in two Southern provinces and one in the Northeast in an operation performed by the Crime Suppression Division (CSD)'s special weapons and tactics unit on Sunday.
The operation was launched at 6am when 80 members of the Hanuman unit were deployed to raid eight targets - three in Yala, four in Narathiwat and one in Khon Kaen.
The action was related to an incident on Sept 5, 2022 when a group of armed men abducted a man from a house in Rangae district, Narathiwat province. The victim was detained in a house where he was beaten up and suffered a broken rib. The group then called his relatives, demanding 500,000 baht in return for his release. They threatened to cut off the victim's ears or torture him to death if their demand was not met.
The relatives bargained to first pay 300,000 baht, saying the rest would be paid later, and the kidnappers agreed. After taking the money from a spot in Sungai Kolok, the victim was released and abandoned at a location where he was later picked up by the relatives.
After the release, the kidnappers kept calling the relatives, demanding the rest of the ransom money. For fear of their safety, the relatives paid them 100,000 baht to ease the pressure on them, but the kidnappers continued demanding the rest. The relatives decided to file a complaint with police in Rangae district and later with the CSD.
The CSD learned from an investigation that members of the kidnapping gang were mostly former rangers, defence volunteers and insurgents. Court warrants were subsequently granted for the arrests of five suspects. Two of them were identified as Abdulroning Salae, 39, and Andi Mama, 33.
In the CSD raid on Sunday, Mr Abdulroning was arrested from his house in Yala and Mr Andi from his house in Narathiwat's Sungai Kolok district.
In Khon Kaen, CSD police also arrested another suspect, who was not yet identified.
The CSD planned to later hold a press conference on the full results of the operation.