BANGKOK — April 18, 2017: The Pattaya police chief is not aware of the alleged abduction of Malaysian activist Peter Chong in Hatyai which then led him to be taken to Pattaya.
According to Colonel Apichai Krobpet, Pattaya police had never received any report on the alleged abduction.
“I don’t know about Peter Chong’s case. This is the first time I have heard of the case and the allegation. I also have not been contacted by the Malaysian embassy or the Malaysian police,” he told Bernama today.
Apichai’s denial comes a day after Hatyai police chief Colonel Kittichai Sankatavorn made a similar statement.
Apichai also noted that if the allegation was proven to be untrue and baseless, it could cause damage not only to Pattaya’s image as a major tourist destination but also to the country’s tourism industry.
Chong told Malaysian police on his return from Thailand that he was abducted in Hatyai while meeting a source over the disappearance of pastor Raymond Koh who was reportedly taken to Pattaya.
The activist who went missing since April 6 claimed to have been released from captivity in Pattaya and returned to Malaysia last Sunday.
One source said that Chong had called the Malaysian embassy in Bangkok to request help to return to Malaysia. During the conversation he never mentioned about any abduction.
Zaidi Azmi writes that the claim by Chong continues to be commented with scepticism in the social media .
The most questionable aspect of his story was when Chong said he decided to go all the way to Hatyai just to chase a lead over the whereabouts of Koh without telling anyone about it.
The claim, as Facebooker Helvin Henry puts it, was absurd because a week before disappearing, Chong took to Facebook to air his worries about being kidnapped after he was warned about it by a stranger.
“If a man had already warned you that you may be kidnapped, would you even consider going to Hatyai just because someone wanted to tell you about a missing person?”
On April 7, Chong arrived in Hatyai by bus and was approached by a stranger who eventually led him to a hotel.
He said two Malay men grilled him on his effort to find the missing pastor and his opposition to the syariah courts empowerment bill, RUU355.
He claimed that he was taken to a town near Pattaya four days later and released there.
According to Chong, he did not lodge any report with Thai police because he managed to get his son to wire him some money through the help of the embassy.
A critic, Mahmoud Fiftithri, argued that Chong should have consulted the police after receiving the phone call warning him that he would be kidnapped instead of immediately going to Hatyai.
Shari Lee found it perplexing that the supposed abductors chose to trick and kidnap Chong instead of more prominent opposition leaders or activists.