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Thailand: Man dies while in custody over detainment of 3 Japanese nationals

THAILAND (TR) – A 27-year-old South Korean man suspected of confining and extorting three male and female Japanese nationals beginning last year has died in custody, police in Bangkok said last week, reports TV Asahi (Feb. 10).

On February 10, police announced that Hwang Geonil died as a result of congestive heart failure on February 3. There were no other details available.

In late January, police arrested Hwang for allegedly overstaying his visa. On January 31, he collapsed while being transported to a police station.

According to the investigation, Hwang swindled the three victims out of more than a total of 10 million yen by seizing their passports and confining them to a residence in Bangkok. In threatening them, he claimed to have underworld connections.

In September, a 24-year-old woman from Yamaguchi Prefecture came to Thailand after becoming acquainted with Hwang on a dating site. After he allegedly beat her and confined her to the residence, he coaxed her into having her parents forward around 2 million yen to him, police said.

Hwang later tricked the woman’s 21-year-old brother into coming to Thailand by having her claim that she wished to discuss a business opportunity. Upon his arrival in October, the suspect also allegedly beat and confined him. He then obtained about 8 million yen from the brother’s associates, police said.

Hwang Geonil
Hwang Geonil (Twitter)

The third victim, a 21-year-old man from Hokkaido Prefecture, arrived in Thailand in January. Hwang subsequently swindled him out of around 800,000 yen.

In November, the woman from Yamaguchi Prefecture managed to contact the Japanese Embassy in Bangkok. She subsequently returned to Japan.

In January, the mother of the Hokkaido man contacted the embassy. Thai police thereafter launched an investigation.

On January 28, police apprehended Hwang. During questioning, he claimed to have only gotten into disputes with the victims. “I didn’t do anything,” the suspect said.