Father of Thai held by Hamas seeks help

Father of Thai held by Hamas seeks help

Buri Ram man says he’s heard little news about eight still held captive

Pongsak Tanna, 36, of Buir Ram has been held captive by Hamas for nearly five months. (Photo: Surachai Piragsa)
Pongsak Tanna, 36, of Buir Ram has been held captive by Hamas for nearly five months. (Photo: Surachai Piragsa)

BURI RAM: The father of a Thai worker in Israel is demanding that the government negotiate for the release of his son who has been held captive by Hamas militants for nearly five months.

Wilas Tanna, 64, from tambon Ban Khu in Na Pho district, said on Wednesday that he is worried about the safety of his son Pongsak, 36, since he was captured after the Hamas attack on Israel on Oct 7 last year.

“It has been almost five months and my son has not been released,” he said. “I only have news from the government that my son is among the eight Thais who are still being held captive by Hamas and that they are all safe.

“I pray for his safety every night and for his return as soon as possible.”

Hamas took about 240 hostages of almost two dozen nationalities, including 31 Thais. A total of 23 Thais were subsequently freed during exchanges of hostages for prisoners held by Israel. About 110 hostages are still believed to be in captivity and some of them are believed to have died.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, about 29,900 Thai labourers were working in Israel before the Hamas attack. Since October, 9,697 workers have returned to Thailand. Thirty-nine Thais also died in the Hamas attacks.

Mr Wilas said no one knew why the release of the remaining eight Thai hostages was taking so long, or could say exactly when they would be freed.

He said he wanted the government to speed up negotiations for the sake of hostages’ safety.

Santi Boonprom, who was captured by Hamas and released in late November, and who is a neighbour of Mr Pongsak, said Mr Pongsak and he were held captive in different places. He has tried to contact everyone he knows in Israel to find out about those being held captive.

The Ministry of Labour says that so far it has paid compensation to 1,210 Thai workers who returned from Israel, or 60.5 million baht in total. The remaining compensation payments are expected to be made this month.

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