Not so many foreigners know this but recently in the Thai vernacular press and on television there were headline stories about how some American had kidnapped a child from outside a school in Bangkok and had used 'criminal type' figures to help him.
The child's mother and her new lover, a tuk-tuk driver, said that they were convinced it was the 'abusive' American father because he had rung to say 'You'll never see your son again'.
'You'll never see your son again" - Ditto
Actually the father has since been in contact with me on several occasions wondering whether he is liable to be arrested and I could only point out to him that he was unlikely to be on an Immigration watch list and agree that he had not himself broken any law.
The American is well known in many fields. He is quite famous for instance for being Ronald Macdonald for over a year and representing the US hamburger chain.
He is from New York and I would be hard pushed to say he could not be verbally abusive, but I am sure he is not with his son in any way.
His story was quite different of course. He said he doted on his son but his wife took him from his home over a year ago when she ran off with her new lover.
Her Thai paramour had been on the phone demanding 2 million baht for the child's return also saying: 'You'll never see your son again.'
He had been driven to distraction and been milked of over a million baht trying to find someone to get his son back and eventually found a 'nice' group of police to do it.
He was concerned about his legal Thai wife's lover as he had had him photographed staggering about the house drunk.
Police have strongly denied being involved in the kidnap, as of course they would. It was not an official police operation. Meanwhile they have apparently ceased calling for the American to surrender himself to 'sort out the problem'. It might be embarrassing if they caught the real culprits.
This is a custody issue for lawyers and the courts.
There is no such crime as parental kidnapping in Thailand. Here's a link to a page on the United States Embassy website. This is not an uncommon problem so parents who potentially see themselves in this sort of situation would do well to have a read.
Among the publicised cases are those of Swedish Thai Niza Engdahl, aged 4, above,who was taken from school by her Thai mother, and Ricardo Choosaneh, a nine-year-old first taken by his Thai mother from his father in the Netherlands, then taken from Phuket by his foster mother earlier this year
There is also the case of Irishman Colin Vard whose nine year old son, Daire, was taken by her mother. He has informal custody because the mother is now in jail on remand for offences of fraud, but he is now going through formal proceedings. The wife's family, said Colin, had demanded 5 million Thai baht.
Daire(right) was tracked down by Surat Thani police investigating how his father had lost his seven properties in Phuket.
Thailand a Parental Kidnapping Hub
Thailand actually has been become a kidnapping hub in another way. As it is not a signatory to the International Treaty on Parental Kidnapping, the British Foreign Office report that it is the second favourite destination for disenfranchised parents to take their kids to from the U.K.
Some 161 children were taken from Britain last year, says the FCO.