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Victims found with heads shaved, burns

Victims found with heads shaved, burns

Five people were rescued by authorities from an apartment in Bangkok’s Bang Phlat district yesterday, saying they had been unlawfully detained and abused over a fictitious debt.

The victims said they were detained by Haru Hwangsiri, 39, and Tripetchratana Napatchara, 20, both of whom were arrested and charged with unlawful detention and physical assault, according to Pol Lt Gen Thiti Saengsawang, commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB).

The suspects were arrested after Thonburi Criminal Court issued a warrant for their arrest, following the rescue of the victims from an apartment on Arun Amarin Road.

Five people were rescued from the apartment; three women and two minors.

The rescue operation was led by Pol Maj Gen Theeradech Thamsuthee, Metropolitan Police Investigation Commander. It was launched after the MPB’s online patrol team received a report from a group of concerned netizens whom the victims managed to contact through Facebook.

Pol Maj Gen Theeradech said the victims claimed to have been abused by Mr Haru for over three years.

To the victims, Mr Haru claimed to be a half-Japanese, half-Korean physician employed by “the embassy” who had a close relationship with the police. The adult victims were at one point working together as nurses at a clinic, but they were persuaded to quit their jobs and invest in a business owned by Mr Haru.

After they officially became business partners, Mr Haru told the victims that their business had incurred debts of about 140 million baht, and that they would have to work for him to pay it off.

Over a three-year period, the victims said they were physically abused by Mr Haru and Mr Tripetchratana, who acted as a “warder” for Mr Haru, Pol Maj Gen Theeradech said.

The victims said Mr Haru defrauded them out of over five million baht, investing the money in various projects without their consent.

When police arrived at the apartment, they found the victims with their heads shaved. They also had various burns and bruises all over their bodies, which pointed to recent physical assaults, Pol Lt Gen Thiti said, adding the victims are now receiving treatment at a hospital.

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