All seven French nationals arrested are currently being held at Phuket Provincial Court, Chalong Police Chief Col Prachum Ruangthong told The Phuket News this morning (Mar 8).
The seven were named as: Idriss Sulliman, 25; Yann Kimulina, 25; Brahim Saifdine, 21; Mouhcin Wizkrane, 23; Yacine Maatoug, 32; Lydia Kouang Nlend, 21; and Sahra Zerari, 19.
“All seven are in custody while police conduct criminal background checks on them,” Col Prachum said.
“French Police have informed us that some of the suspects have criminal records involving drugs in their home country,” he added.
“We are still investigating their motive for this latest incident,” Col Prachum said.
“Immigration records show that they often enter and leave Thailand as tourists. Right now, the investigator is translating the clip and message from French to Thai to include in the file to be handed to the Public Prosecutor.
“That way the exact information can be shown clearly to the court,” he added.
Col Prachum explained that police became aware of the case only on Tuesday (Mar 6), after French embassy officials brought the victim to Chalong Police Station to file a formal complaint.
“They forced the victim to go with them from an entertainment venue in Bangla Rd, Patong, and took her by motorcycle to Soi Yod Sanae in Chalong on March 4 at 5am.
“They accused her of stealing 5,000 euros from them. They made a video in which they threatened [the victim] which they sent to her family in France. They asked for money from her family.”
“They threatened to injure the woman until she died. Police did find blood at the scene,’ Col Prachum told The Phuket News.
“Her family was scared and sent 5,000 euros. After that the seven French people released the Frenchwoman at midday on March 4,” Col Prachum confirmed.
“Her family then contacted the French Embassy in Thailand, who brought her to Chalong Police Station on Tuesday (Mar 6) to report the case to press charges,” he said.
Chalong Police working with Kamala Police, Tourist Police and Forensic Police began collecting evidence and tracked down the seven staying in a rental house in Kamala, where the seven were arrested on Tuesday.
“Chalong Police are continuing to gather evidence for the case to be heard in court,” Col Prachum said.
The Phuket News notes that Section 313 of the Thai Criminal Code, states, “Whoever, in order to obtain a ransom… Takes away a person over fifteen years of age by using deceitful means, threat, doing any act of violence, unjust influence or mode of coercion by any other means; or restrains or detains any person, shall be punished with imprisonment of fifteen to twenty years and fined of thirty thousand to forty thousand Baht, or imprisonment for life, or death.