Phuket

Phuket court issues arrest warrants for soldiers in abduction case

PHUKET: The Chalong Police are continuing their investigation into the alleged abduction of a Ukrainian businessman and his wife by soldiers in Phuket late last week.

Igor Iermakov, 37, was allegedly abducted from Mitraphap Beach in Rawai on Thursday by a group of 10 people that included five soldiers.

His wife, Maryna, later reported to the Chalong Police that she was ordered to pay a ransom of US$500,000 (story here).

Yesterday, Mr Iermakov and his wife were escorted by Capt Patiwat Yodkwan, inspector of the Chalong Police, to Mitraphap Beach – where the abduction allegedly took place.

They were then taken back to Chalong Police Station for further questioning.

However, Capt Patiwat yesterday declined to reveal their current whereabouts.

“Both are still in Phuket under police protection for the time being,” he told the Phuket Gazette.

Chalong Police confirmed to the Gazette that arrest warrants were issued by the Phuket court for the five soldiers implicated in the alleged abduction.

An officer, who asked not to be named, confirmed that the arrests warrants were for:

Master Sergeant 3rd Class Sumit Chuaybamrung, 49, from Surat Thani.
Sgt Kachenpong Boonmee, 43, from Nakhon Sri Thammarat.
Sgt Wichien Suknun, 42, from Nakhon Sri Thammarat.
Pvt Reuchai Promthongkeaw, 22, from Nakhon Sri Thammarat.
Pvt Phisit Keawwihok, 26, from Nakhon Sri Thammarat.

A Chalong Police officer contacted by the Gazette today declined to give any additional information about the whereabouts of the five soldiers. The officer also declined to confirm that the arrest warrants for the soldiers were still valid.

The arrest warrants were issued by Phuket Provincial Court on Saturday, after Phuket’s highest-ranking military officer, Maj Gen Theenachat Jinda-ngern, told a press conference that the arrest of the soldiers for the alleged abductions was a “mistake” (story here).

However, he did confirm to the press that he would not interfere with any police investigation into the incident.

“We will not interfere with the police. They can treat the case as they would any other case,” Gen Theenachat said.

— Kritsada Mueanhawong

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