Thai woman uncovers Chinese matchmaking racket

Image courtesy of Sanook

In an unfolding case of alleged exploitation, a Thai woman, known as Toey, shed light on a Chinese matchmaking racket. The 31 year old Toey was purportedly coaxed into marriage with a Chinese man through a deceptive arrangement made by an intermediary or match-maker that included a dowry of 100,000 baht and a commitment to bear a child within six months, resulting in her confinement and abuse.

Toey, a native of Udon Thani, had previously been married and was a mother to two children. After her divorce, supplemented her parents’ income by working as a Thai massage therapist in Pattaya in the Chon Buri province. In August 2019, a friend in her village, who was approached by a Thai matchmaker offering marriage proposals from Chinese men, contacted her. Toey was drawn into the arrangement with the hope of improving her family’s financial situation.

Under the agreement, the women would receive a dowry of 100,000 baht and had to travel to live with their husbands in China. Upon bearing a child, they would have the option to either return to Thailand or continue living in China. Toey met with the matchmaker and informed her prior marital status and sterility, only to be told to conceal these facts from her prospective Chinese groom.

Following the conclusion of the wedding ceremony, Toey and other selected women were taken to meet their prospective Chinese husbands. Contracts were established, mandating the women to conceive a child within six months of the wedding. If abused, they would have the right to return to Thailand. Toey’s mother and the matchmaker were signatories to the agreement.

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Once the agreement was made, Toey sought to terminate the arrangement realising the difficulty of marriage without love. But her pleas were turned down by the matchmaker, who counselled patience and retirement to Thailand once the pregnancy clause failed. However, when Toey failed to conceive after two months, communication with the matchmaker ceased, leaving her to endure the hostility of her husband’s family for six months.

Upon revealing her sterility to her Chinese family, she was physically abused and held captive in the house for three years. Her husband and mother in law alleged that they paid the matchmaker 1 million baht in expectation of a Thai bride capable of producing an heir. However, Toey managed to escape and sought the Thai consulate’s help in Shanghai, which returned her to Thailand on June 1, 2023. She was penalised for visa expiration and had to buy her return ticket amounting to 28,000 baht.

Toey, upon her return to Thailand, wished to shed light on her plight to warn other Thai women against such matchmaking rackets. She pointed out that matchmaking could be equated to human trafficking and sought appropriate regulatory scrutiny of such operations. Moreover, she doesn’t intend to seek legal action against her ex-husband or the matchmakers, reported Sanook.

“I urge Thai women to be careful if any match-makers introduce them to Chinese men for marriage. Think a lot, think well. If you are lucky enough to meet a good Chinese man and his family, consider yourself blessed. However, if you are less fortunate, you might have to endure torment as I did, enduring three years of confinement, even contemplating suicide twice, and falling into depression. There are both good and bad men in any country. If you meet a horrible fate like I did, remember this.”

Thailand News

Samantha Rose

Samantha was a successful freelance journalist who worked with international news organisations before joining Thaiger. With a Bachelor's degree in Journalism from London, her global perspective on news and current affairs is influenced by her days in the UK, Singapore, and across Thailand. She now covers general stories related to Thailand.

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