Six men have been jailed for the kidnapping and manslaughter of an Auckland woman who fell from the boot of a moving car.

Jindarat Prutsiriporn, 50, died in hospital two days after she hit her head on the road while trying to escape her kidnappers in Papatoetoe during March 1 last year.

Eleven people were arrested following her death and six went to trial in May, facing manslaughter and kidnapping charges, the rest earlier pleading guilty to their parts.

Following two days of deliberations and 10-weeks of evidence, a High Court jury found Seng Lek Liev, Apichart Korhomklang and Luigi Havea guilty of one charge of manslaughter and one of kidnapping each.


Tafito Masi Vaifale and Joseph Haurua were also found guilty of manslaughter. They had earlier pleaded guilty to kidnapping Prutsiriporn.

Pictured are defendants to the manslaughter of Jindarat Prutsiriporn at The Auckland High Court during sentencing. Photo / Doug Sherring
Pictured are defendants to the manslaughter of Jindarat Prutsiriporn at The Auckland High Court during sentencing. Photo / Doug Sherring

Tevita Fangupo was found not guilty of kidnapping by a majority jury verdict of 11 to one.

Sodarith Sao, who was not part of the trial, had also earlier pleaded guilty to kidnapping and manslaughter.

Sao and the five found guilty during the trial were sentenced today by Justice Matthew Palmer in the High Court at Auckland.

Justice Palmer said Liev was the architect of the kidnapping, which was carefully planned.

Liev had decided to kidnap former Napier woman Prutsiriporn and contacted the east chapter of the Head Hunters gang for help, the Crown said.

A group called the Ghost Unit was to carry out the job.

"They were Mr Liev's hired muscle," Crown Prosecutor Gareth Kayes said.


The ghost unit first tried to kidnap Prutsiriporn on February 15, 2016.

Members of the group had waited outside her Waterview house but were spooked by police nearby.

Then a few days later, on February 29, the Ghost Unit struck.

Prutsiriporn was lured into a ute under the guise of a drug deal.

Another car then quickly arrived and the crew bundled her into the back of it at about 9.30pm.

She was then held at several locations for 22 hours by the group.


Kayes said it will remain a mystery as to how long Liev intended to have Prutisirporn held.

Prutsiriporn was then moved to Haurua's house, where she was tied with a torn-up sheet.

But she began to struggle.

The ghost unit moved her again to Korhomklang's house in Mangere, where she spent much of the day in a garage.

At about 5pm she was loaded into another car boot - bound and tied.

However, while there she found a knife which she hid it down her trousers, she also found a chef's steel.


In her dramatic and ultimately fatal bid to escape, Prutsiriporn used the chef's steel to open the boot while the car stopped at traffic lights on Huia Rd, Papatoetoe.

She was thrown from the car as it sped off.

Found on the road by motorists, she was barely breathing and foaming at the mouth with ties around her neck, waist and ankles.

She died from her injuries in hospital two days later.

Prutsiriporn, a mother of three and known affectionately as Nui, had been involved in the criminal drugs world.

The Thai woman had served time for importing methamphetamine and was on active charges at the time of her death.


A family representative described her as a fun, kind, loud, cheerful woman, the court heard today.

Prutsiriporn's son now suffers nightmares and wakes during the night to check his house is secure and that his family is okay.

• Seng Lek Liev - 12 years and four months for manslaughter and kidnapping
• Aphichart Korhomklang - 10 years and eight months for manslaughter and kidnapping
• Luigi Havea - 10 years and three months for manslaughter and kidnapping
• Tafito Masi Vaifale - Seven years and 10 months for manslaughter and earlier pleading guilty to kidnapping
• Joseph Benjamin Haurua - Six years and six months for manslaughter and earlier pleading guilty to kidnapping
• Sodarith Sao - Nine years and four months for earlier pleading guilty to kidnapping and manslaughter.

More offenders revealed

The Herald can also now publish details of some of the others involved in Prutsirirporn's kidnapping.

Panepasa Havea and Raymond Brown were sentenced on June 8 in the High Court at Auckland, each for a charge of kidnapping.

Despite pleading guilty, the facts of their offending were suppressed by Justice Matthew Downs until after Liev and the others' sentencing today - to protect the integrity of the trial.


Havea had threatened Prutsiriporn and her family, Crown prosecutor Jenson Pope said on June 8.

Havea had also arranged the vehicle to take her from the scene of the kidnapping.

Pope said that throughout the police investigation into Prutsiriporn's kidnapping and death, Havea had initially maintained his innocence but later pleaded guilty to appease the judicial process.

Havea showed "little remorse and no insight" into his offending, he added.

"He says he was at home when the offending occurred, [and] also denies significant parts of the offending for which he's currently in custody for on another matter," Pope said.

Brown's defence counsel Nalesoni Tu'inauvai Tupou said his client had left school at 16 but was a hard worker and that his offending was "out of character".


Brown's wife, parents, and in-laws were in court for his sentencing.

Tupou said Brown had "[helped] out in the community" and "his character is one that can be commended" when it came to his family.

However, growing up in a "tough environment in South Auckland" was a contributor to his offending, the court heard.

Brown, who was working six days a week as a driver and was facing significant financial debt, "accepts the charges unconditionally" and is remorseful, Tupou said.

Justice Downs agreed Brown's offending was "wholly out of character".

On January 15 last year Brown was told there was a job available and that a woman was to be taken. He was told to then wait for further instructions before being paid.


Havea's job was to detain Prutsiriporn.

Havea told her: "Don't scream or try anything or else I will shoot you, or if you try anything I know where you family is and I will hurt them."

Brown was also one of the drivers in the kidnapping plot and drove members of the group to Prutisirporn's home.

"You, Mr Havea were hired muscle, and you, Mr Brown were one of the drivers and expected to be paid," Justice Downs said.

Brown, who was a close associate of the Ghost Unit, was sentenced to 25 months in prison.

While Havea, who was a member of the ghost unit, was jailed for three years and eight months.


His prison sentence will be served concurrently with an already existing term of imprisonment.