Rob Kidd is a NZME. News Service court reporter based in Auckland.

Group accused of kidnapping Thai woman plead not guilty

Jindarat Prutsiriporn was found tied up on a Papatoetoe road, she later died in hospital from her injuries. Photo / Supplied
Jindarat Prutsiriporn was found tied up on a Papatoetoe road, she later died in hospital from her injuries. Photo / Supplied

A group of 10 accused of kidnapping a Thai woman who died after jumping out of a moving car while bound and gagged have all pleaded not guilty.

Six of the defendants are also charged with Jindarat Prutsiriporn's manslaughter after she was found tied up on a Papatoetoe road on March 1.

She later died in hospital from her injuries and police launched Operation Sisal in a bid to apprehend those responsible.

The defendants initially appeared in Manukau District Court last month where they were all granted interim name suppression.

But in the High Court at Auckland this morning all but one of those orders lapsed.

Those charged with kidnap alone are: Tevita Matangi Fangupo, 23, Becoylee Rogers Paleaaesina, 25, Panepasa Havea, 25 and a woman in her 20s.

Accused of kidnapping and manslaughter are: Masi Vaifale, 34, Seng Lek Liev, 25, Joseph Benjamin Haurua, 33, Aphichart Korhomklang, 30, Sodarith Sao, 25 and Luigi Havea, 26.

In the early stages of the investigation police revealed there were thought to be links to organised crime.

Ms Prutsiriporn had been facing cannabis and methamphetamine charges at the time of her death and friends spoke about her long-running battle with drugs.

A trial date for May next year was set.

Seven of the defendants were remanded in custody, three on bail, to reappear in August.

- NZ Herald

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