On May 6th, security cameras captured the moment when 39-year-old Chinese tourist Jincai Chen was kidnapped at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Thailand. Other travelers around her didn’t seem to notice as she was first immediately followed by four Chinese men and one Thai woman, then ushered through security while two men held her and one walked ahead of them.
The group of kidnappers ushered the Chinese tourist through security before they were joined by two more men at the baggage carousel. According to a report from news.com.au, the police claimed the kidnappers were aided by ten other Thai nationals, one of them being an immigration officer working at the airport. After exiting the building, the kidnappers called Chen’s husband and demanded a ransom of 10 million baht (or roughly $313,000 USD).
Chen’s husband was able to get the money together and paid it on May 18th. However, the kidnappers then informed him that they wanted an additional 10 million baht ($156,641 USD). It was at this point that Chen’s husband contacted the police for help. The next day, Chen was left on the side of the road in the Bang Na district of Thailand. She spent 13 days in captivity with her kidnappers.
According to Newsweek, Police Major General Surachate Hakparn told reporters: “Arrest warrants have been issued for four Chinese suspects who have already fled Thailand. They are Wenqui Sun, Ming Song, Dongliang Sun and Meiling Kai.” He also stated that the name of the Thai woman seen in the video is Wansikan Termthanapat. Hakparn added: “We know the identity of all the suspects and will be tracking them down for their involvement in the crime.” Hakparn also noted that Chen, the kidnapped Chinese tourist, has given her statement regarding the crime and her husband will give one as well. He also noted that they would try to reclaim the husband’s ransom payment.
In 2017, Suvarnabhumi Airport was ranked as the 21st busiest airport in the world in terms of passenger traffic, according to Airport Council International (ACI). It is also the busiest airport in the country, according to data from Airports of Thailand PLC and Thailand’s Department of Airports. The airport has already had several security issues. According to a report from Thai PBS, eight luggage handlers working at the airport were arrested for theft in March. One month later, a baggage scanning worker was fired after being caught on camera stealing money from a passenger’s luggage.
Travelers who are passing through the airport should be aware that thefts by security workers have occurred, and that all of their belongings should be double checked after passing them through security. According to the US State Department’s travel site, travelers should only use public transportation, limousine services, or car services provided by their hotel when traveling from the airport. In addition, travelers should be aware that scams can be perpetrated at bars, restaurants, or rental services, where more money will be demanded for fake damage claims or unadvertised cover charges. Pickpocketing and street theft can also occur frequently in Thailand, according to the US State Department.
While Thailand is a beautiful country that is visited by tourists every year, it is always good to take precautions when traveling there or to any other country. Always be aware of your surroundings and plan ahead. It’s a good idea to know where the embassy for your country is located so if you find yourself in trouble you will still be able to get home. You should also always let the people you are traveling with know where you are or where you are going in case they need to file a missing person’s report.