A 20-YEAR-OLD Thai student has been rescued from a group alleged to have lured her to gamble at a casino in the Cambodian border town of Poi Pet early this month before detaining her over a high-interest gambling debt.
The Korean loan-shark gang released the victim after negotiating with officials at the Thai-Cambodia Border Coordination Office and Tambon Thap Sadet kamnan Plai Manpeun, who brought the woman back to Thailand at 1am yesterday.
She was speaking incoherently and seemed absent-minded as if under the influence of drugs, said officials.
The gang that held her hostage is accused of luring people into gambling until they needed to borrow money from the gang at a rate of 20 per cent per day.
When the gamblers found themselves deep in debt, the gang allegedly detained or even assaulted them until they either repaid the debt or handed over the assets.
A local motorcycle taxi driver told the officials that the gang might have forced the young woman to serve as a “receptionist taking care of Thai and foreign gamblers”.
The operation officials and the kamnan staked out the casino from early Sunday evening until they were allowed to see the victim at 11pm.
The victim’s elder sister had filed a complaint with Sa Kaew’s Klong Leuk Police Station noting her disappearance on April 20.
The sister last saw the victim at Suvarnabhumi Airport at 4am on April 20 to see her off to study in Canada.
Having assumed that the young woman had arrived as planned, she was shocked to learn two weeks later that her sister was instead at a Poi Pet casino and in huge debt.
A friend of the victim told her about a chat message in which the student said she was going to see a Korean man. The phone contact then ceased.
Acting on the sister’s complaint, police learned from the immigration bureau that the victim had left Thailand for Cambodia on May 10 and never returned.
Kamnan Plai of Tambon Thap Sadet, a relative of the victim, contacted the Thai-Cambodia Border Coordination Office on Sunday to help locate her in Poi Pet based on the police information, resulting in the rescue. – The Nation
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