The senior officer was not named by Metropolitan Police Bureau Chief Police Lieutenant General Pakkapong Pongpetra but he confirmed that he held the rank of a Police Lieutenant Colonel. His identity was later unearthed as 59-year-old Police Lieutenant Colonel Kritsanaporn Thapthawee. He has been charged with abduction, attempted murder and extortion. The officer was transferred to an inactive post pending further disciplinary moves. All those arrested so far were initially denied bail due to the serious nature of the criminal acts committed by the gang in pursuit of ฿93 million trade grievance but a court on Tuesday handed down terms including a ban on leaving the kingdom. Key player, US man Louis Ziskin is a former drug trafficker, prison inmate, tech entrepreneur and philanthropist who founded LA-based tech firm Dropin in 2015.
The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau in Bangkok, on Tuesday, confirmed that a senior police officer has been arrested and charged in relation to the March 28th abduction and attempted murder of a Taiwanese businessman orchestrated by a group acting on behalf of a 52-year-old US entrepreneur who claimed he lost ฿93 million in a rubber gloves transaction in 2020. It also emerged from a press conference given by Police Lieutenant General Pakkapong Pongpetra that the US Embassy was given prior notification of the arrest of the two Americans, former US Marine Corps and Gulf war veterans, before their apprehension by armed police last week. The main driver of the plot, Mr Louis Ziskin can be revealed as a serial entrepreneur and philanthropist from California who, in his colourful past, was jailed in 2000 by US Federal Authorities for drug trafficking.
The Chief of the Metropolitan Police Bureau in Bangkok, Police Lieutenant General Pakkapong Pongpetra on Tuesday, revealed a senior officer within the force was arrested and charged on Monday after turning himself into officers at Thong Lor Police Station in the city in relation to the abduction and assault perpetrated on a Tawainese businessman at the end of March.
The kidnapping operation was outlined at a press conference on Saturday evening given by the Deputy Commissioner of the Central Investigation Bureau Police Lieutenant General Jiraphop Phuridech.
Americans presented at a police press conference
It followed the arrest of two Americans, ex-marine corps members, last week. On Saturday last, the plot and background to what happened was explained to the media.
At the conclusion of last Saturday night’s encounter with the press, a gentleman addressed the gathering and reporters.
He attempted to have the story played down in particular reports that a serving police officer was involved with the plot and vociferously urged them to have regard to ‘international relations’ and the ‘sensitive’ nature of the story.
Taiwanese man told by his captors it was futile to report his abduction to the police due to the involvement of a senior officer now arrested
It is believed that the Taiwanese man, Mr Wen Yu Chung, was told after he was kidnapped and injured by the gang on Sunday, March 28th last that any attempt to submit a complaint to the police was futile as it would not be pursued.
They told him a senior policeman was linked to the operation.
Mr Chung did not believe this and promptly made his report at Thong Lor Police Station after first receiving hospital treatment for injuries at the hands of his abductors who violently assaulted him.
The kidnapping of Taiwanese businessman by the gang was linked by Police Lieutenant General Jiraphop on Saturday to a business deal that went sour when ฿93 million was lost by one of the Americans arrested last week, Mr Louis William Ziskin, who had contracted with a firm called The Collection Agency to procure rubber gloves from a company called Paddy The Room Trading Company Limited.
Specially trained US Marine Corps veterans
The two Americans arrested by armed police last week were specially trained US marine corps veterans of the Gulf War.
Both men confronted the captured man in an attempt to coerce him, his associates and relatives into paying over $3 million.
Arrested senior police officer not named by the police chief who confirmed the charges against him and his transfer to an inactive post
On Monday, the Bangkok police chief Police Lieutenant General Pakkapong did not divulge the name of the senior officer involved but indicated that he held the rank of a Police Lieutenant Colonel and worked in the Traffic Control division of the force.
His identity later emerged as Police Lieutenant Colonel Kritsanaporn Thapthawee.
He indicated the officer has been charged in relation to the plot as an accomplice with abduction, attempted murder and extortion as well as an illegal assembly charge and offences under the Emergency Decree.
Police have also pursued charges against him for participation in an illegal secret society with intent to commit a criminal offence.
The police officer has been assigned to an inactive post while a disciplinary panel will be convened in accordance with the normal procedure in such situations in line with the legal process against him.
Only six arrest warrants issued by the Bangkok Criminal Court, two are still on the run with four now being held said police chief
The police chief, however, indicated that only six arrest warrants had been issued in the case with four of these sought already detained while two are now being sought by police.
Earlier reports had suggested eight people were the subject of court arrest orders issued by the Bangkok Criminal Court.
The two remaining suspects are believed to be still in Thailand.
US Embassy notified prior to last week’s arrests
Police Lieutenant General Pakkapong Phongpetra addressed the issue of sensitivity and international relations.
He explained that the relevant embassies of all foreign nationals had been notified prior to the arrests being carried out last week including the apprehension of the two Americans, 41-year-old Jeremy Hughes Manchester and 52-year-old Louis William Ziskin.
The Thai man arrested in last week’s police operation was named as Ekbodin Prasitnarit.
It was also revealed that police objected to bail for the accused men as legal proceedings are being processed in the case based on the severity of the charges they face.
In a later development, the defendants were granted bail by a Bangkok court on a surety of ฿300,000. All are required to wear ankle bracelets and not to leave the kingdom.
American denies the crime but has a colourful history in the United States as an entrepreneur, philanthropist, drug dealer and prison inmate
The Americans are reported to be vehemently denying the charges against them.
The ring leader of the plot is a well known and wealthy serial entrepreneur who also has a colourful criminal past in the United States that he makes no secret of.
Jailed for 16 years after initially facing a 30 year US prison term while claiming legal double jeopardy
In 1998, Mr Ziskin, a graduate of the University of Southern California, became a major importer of ecstasy operating in the Los Angeles area.
The ex-marine smuggled the product into the United States from Europe. He was arrested on December 7th 2000 and his operation taken down by law enforcement.
After later filing double jeopardy claims against the charges and losing a case, the American made a deal with Federal prosecutors which saw him jailed for 16 years and fined $9 million.
He was initially facing a 30-year term after his streamlined and highly organised business delivering ecstasy to drop boxes all over the LA area was smashed.
Founded the firm Dropin after going into the tech business in 2015 which rose high to success
Released from prison in 2011, Ziskin went working in his brother’s business before going out on his own into the tech business in 2015 where he pioneered drone technology and formed a partnership with ride-sharing company Lyft.
A Forbes profile on the entrepreneur was published in 2018.
He talked about his company Dropin, based in Los Angeles which successfully pioneered the use of drones managed by smartphones to allow insurance assessors to more conveniently and cheaply view properties which were the subject of claims.
His firm was chosen by Lloyds of London partners as one of only 20 firms which the old British institution was prepared to underwrite.
‘Listen, I’ve managed to do it and I’ve been inside’
Rebranded in July 2020, Dropin reported that it had expanded its business using AI technology into a range of business arenas from property management and sales to healthcare and providing services to municipal authorities.
In the meantime, Mr Ziskin became known for his philanthropy and was in demand as a motivational speaker where he openly talked about his prison life in the past exhorting and empowering young school students to reach higher.
‘I was a mentally gifted minor who thought rules did not apply to me,’ he told Forbes before later explaining how he approached motivating school goers. ‘The kids say ‘we can’t do that’ and I say ‘listen, I’ve managed to do it and I’ve been inside’.