• Kyodo


The Thai police on Saturday announced that three Japanese men had been arrested the previous day on suspicion of kidnapping and assaulting a Japanese businessman who resides there.

According to the police, Tsunemi Watanabe, 55, was rescued Friday night from a Bangkok apartment where he had been tied up and blindfolded by the three men, who were demanding a ransom of ¥300 million (about $2.7 million).

Watanabe’s right leg had been broken with a baseball bat and his health was declining. He is recovering in the hospital.

Watanabe reportedly feared for his life during the ordeal, and the items found at the apartment included a saw, gun and bullets.

According to the police, Watanabe, who runs a medical equipment business, went missing around 4 p.m. Monday in Bangkok’s central business district. His Thai wife, worried by his absence, subsequently alerted the police.

The three suspects were identified as Reo Tsuruzoe of Tokyo’s Ota Ward, Masato Kobari and Kiyoto Miyata. Watanabe and Tsuruzoe had become acquaintances some years ago in Japan, but their relationship had soured over money, the police said.

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