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Two former US Marines were among four people — including a high-ranking police official — who have been arrested in Bangkok for allegedly kidnapping a Taiwanese businessman in a restaurant for a ransom over a PPE deal gone bad.
Ex-Marines Jeremy Hughes Manchester, 41, and Louis William Ziskin, 52, the CEO and founder of an on-demand live video platform, were busted along with Ekbodin Prasitnarit and Thai police Lt. Col. Kristsnaporn Thapthawee, the Thai Examiner reported.
Wen Yu Chung, 60, the Taiwanese businessman, was captured on surveillance footage from March 28 being put in a headlock and being dragged out of the L’Oliva restaurant in Thong Lor, The Thaiger reported.
Thapthawee was seen in the video supervising the abduction in connection with the $2.95 million ransom plot over the purchase of nitrile gloves, according to the local reports.
In late 2020, Ziskin allegedly appointed the Collection Company Ltd. to negotiate the purchase of a large quantity of the gloves with the Paddy The Room Trading Co. for almost $3 million, the Bangkok Post reported.
But he lost the money in an ensuing business conflict, so he hired Michael Greenberg, an Israeli who opened a private detective company in Thailand last year, to help him recoup the losses, according to the outlet.
In the alleged plot, Greenberg and the others reportedly contacted Chung, a Taiwanese representative of the Collection Company, under the pretext of buying gloves from the Paddy The Room Trading Co.
They made an appointment to gather at L’Oliva, where Chung was cuffed and dragged to a room at NT Place nearby, where several other people were waiting, the Bangkok Post reported.
The alleged kidnappers assaulted Chung and used his phone to call his boss — identified only as Emily — and demand $2 million from her. They also allegedly called his relatives and demanded another $1 million in return for his safe release, according to the report.
When their ransom demands were turned down, the suspects allegedly took Chung to the Nadimos restaurant to talk to Ziskin before he was finally released.
After being treated at a hospital, Chung went to a police station to file a complaint against his alleged captors, who were later arrested.
The suspects have been charged with attempted murder, abduction for ransom, extortion and illegal assembly, the Thai Examiner reported.
Police also pursued charges against the police official for participation in an illegal secret society with intent to commit a criminal offense, according to the outlet.
They have denied the charges.
Ziskin, who served 12 years behind bars for drug smuggling, was featured in a 2018 article in Forbes as the CEO and founder of DropIn, an on-demand video streaming platform for smartphones and drones.
“My plan was to become one of the biggest media companies,” Ziskin said in the profile.
Ziskin, who was born and raised in LA by divorced parents, described himself as a “problem child.”
“I was a mentally gifted minor who thought rules did not apply to me,” he said.
After dropping out of the University of Southern California, he began importing ecstasy from Europe, according to the Forbes article.
After being arrested by the feds in 2000, Ziskin was put on trial and sentenced to 30 years. The sentence was reduced on appeal in 2003.
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