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British children, abducted by Thai mother, reunited with father in Pattaya

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PHUKET: British school children Annie and Aleena Day, abducted by their Thai mother in June while on holiday in Thailand, have been reunited with their father in Pattaya.

“I’ve got them. They’re with me now,” a tearful Robert Day told Pattaya radio station Fabulous 103FM late Friday night (click here).

Onwarat Gamlem, the 36-year-old non-custodial mother of the children, was arrested at a Bangkok apartment on Friday morning, Mr Day told the radio station.

She was wanted on a nationwide warrant for charges of child abduction after she disappeared with the two girls on June 1, the agreed date she was to return the children to Mr Day (story here).

“They [police] said come to Chon Buri, we’ve got your children here and your wife has been arrested,” Mr Day said.

The exhausting ordeal of finding his missing children saw Mr Day conduct a neighborhood by neighborhood grid search of Sri Racha, near Pattaya, where a “ping” from Ms Onwarat’s mobile phone was discovered.

He also hired signboard trucks to roam the streets with photos of the two girls and offered a reward of 100,000 baht for information leading to their safe return.

Police in Phuket also took up the search following reports that Ms Onwarat, also known by her nicknames “Nok Lek” and “On”, might be heading to the island (story here).

Several weeks ago, Ms Onwarat’s family contacted police in an attempt to negotiate the children’s return, Fabulous 103FM reported.

Mr Day agreed not to press charges against Ms Onwarat in exchange for the safe return of his daughters, but the children were not returned.

Col Supatee Boonkrong, acting superintendent of the Pattaya Police, confirmed to the Phuket Gazette this morning that, following her arrest, Ms Onwarat was charged with child abduction.

“She was released on 200,000 baht bail,” he said.

Col Supatee welcomed the good news.

“Mr Day asked the police for help, and we were able to find his daughters and return them to him. It’s good news. We are very happy for them. The children will go back to school [in the UK] on September 10,” he said.

“We understand that the mother loves her daughters, but she must abide by the conditions set by the court. She cannot just take the girls away from their father.”

Mr Day’s family extended their heartfelt thanks for the support they received during the ordeal, including – but not exclusively to – the police in Pattaya, Jomtien and Chon Buri, the British embassy in Bangkok, the media and all Mr Day’s friends and family.

To hear the full report by Fabulous 103FM, which provided comprehensive coverage of the ordeal as it unfolded, click here.

 

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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