Lincoln Tan is the New Zealand Herald’s diversity, ethnic affairs and immigration senior reporter.

Thai community in fear after death of kidnap victim

Jindarat Prutsiriporn has been remembered by friends as a woman with a heart of gold but with a bad background. Photo / Supplied via police
Jindarat Prutsiriporn has been remembered by friends as a woman with a heart of gold but with a bad background. Photo / Supplied via police

A Thai temple spokesman says the Thai community is in fear following reports that the death of a 50-year-old Thai woman may be gang related.

Jindarat Prutsiriporn was bound and gagged and died after she was injured jumping out of a car boot in South Auckland.

"We have not heard of any Thai gangs, and we do not know there are Thai gangs in New Zealand," said Satit Busbong, spokesman for Watyarnprateep Buddhist Temple.

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"But after reading reports about what happened, people are scared to even say anything."

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Prutsiriporn's death is being investigated as a homicide, and police are saying that she may have had links to the organised crime scene.

Songuut Manoonpong, her friend of over 10 years, said he met with her family members, who have declined any offer for help.

"They are requesting privacy, and don't want the story to be bigger than it already is," he said.

Mr Manoonpong, who is also president of the Thai Society Charitable Trust, said he was shocked to learn of Prutsiriporn's criminal and drug past from media reports.

Jindarat Prutsiriporn had spent two and a half years in jail for drug offences. Photo / Supplied via Facebook
Jindarat Prutsiriporn had spent two and a half years in jail for drug offences. Photo / Supplied via Facebook

Prutsiriporn was imprisoned for two and a half years in 2011 after admitting to importing methamphetamine precursor pseudoephedrine as well as other drug offences.

She was due to appear in the Auckland District Court on April 1 after pleading not guilty to what are understood to be methamphetamine-related charges.

"Jindarat worked at a Thai restaurant owned by her son, and I didn't think she had any reason to be involved in such activities," Mr Manoonpong said.

Buddhist monk Vinai Traiporn said Jindarat was an infrequent worshipper at the Kelston temple who often kept to herself.

"She will always come for the big festivals like Songkran (Thai New Year) and special days," he said.

"But I don't know much about her because she doesn't really like to talk or mix around."

A friend, who did not want to be named, said Prutsiriporn had been trying to break away from drugs and crime.

Prutsiriporn was also known to many as Nui Anakakul -- Nui being her Thai nickname for being small.

"Nui was ashamed of her past and said that she wanted to move on with her life," the friend said.

Police were still appealing for sightings of a late-model silver vehicle in Papatoetoe and surrounding areas on Tuesday night.

Anyone with any information can call the Operation Sisal team on 0508 422443 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

- NZ Herald

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