Two ex-US Marines, including tech CEO, face kidnap and attempted murder charges in Thailand, after botched Bangkok kidnap for ransom plot – aimed at recovering bad business debt
Former US Marines, Louis William Ziskin, 52, and Jeremy Hughes Manchester, 41, were arrested on May 15 along with two Thai men for executing a kidnapping and ransom plot in Bangkok
The victim, Taiwanese businessman Wen Yu Chung, 60, said eight people were involved in his kidnapping – four remain at large
Thai authorities said Ziskin appointed the Taiwanese company , Collection Company Limited to negotiate with the Paddy The Room Trading Company Limited for the purchase of nitrile gloves
The gloves were poor quality and Ziskin lost $2.95million and Collection Company Limited allegedly refused to return his money or replace the gloves
The plot was hatched to force the company to return the money so Chung a representative was lured to a Bangkok restaurant and kidnapped for for ransom – $2million from his employer and $1million from his family
Chung’s employer and family both rebuffed the ransom demands and called in law enforcement
Suspects having failed in ransom bid released Chung, leading to arrest warrants being issued for one Thai and seven foreigners
Louis William Ziskin, Jeremy Manchester, and Ekbodin Prasitnarit along with Thai policeman Kristsnaporn Thapthawee, are facing several charges, including racketeering, attempted murder, extortion and abduction for ransom after their arrest on May 15
Chung said a total of eight people were involved in the kidnapping – four remain at large
The men have denied the charges
Ziskin became a multi-millionaire in 2018 and was featured in Forbes – seven years after he was released from prison
He had served 12 years for a 2000 conviction for massive drug smuggling
Two former US Marines have been arrested for the brazen broad daylight kidnapping of a Thai businessman from a restaurant.
Forbes featured businessman and tech company CEO Louis William Ziskin, 52, and Jeremy Hughes Manchester, 41, were two of four people arrested by Thai law enforcement in connection with the $3million revenge ransom plot kidnapping which was captured on camera. Ziskin founder and CEO of streaming platform DropIn interestingly created the company after 12 years [2000 – 2012], in prison for drug smuggling
Former US Marines Louis William Ziskin and Jeremy Hughest Manchester along with and two Thai men are accused of executing a kidnapping Taiwanese businessman Wen Yu Chung in a $2.9m ransom plot in Bangkok
Thai authorities released surveillance footage from the Bangkok restaurant showing Taiwanese businessman Wen Yu Chung being grabbed by the throat and arms and dragged out of the L’Oliva restaurant in Bangkok’s Sukhumvit Soi 36, on March 28, as staff watched.
On May 15, Thai authorities arrested Ziskin, Manchester, along with two men – Ekbodin Prasitnarit. and a police officer Kristsnaporn Thapthawee – for the kidnapping which was allegedly carried out over a PPE deal gone wrong.
Ziskin, Manchester, and Prasitnarit are facing several charges, including racketeering, illegal assembly, attempted murder, extortion and abduction for ransom.
The Bangkok Post reports that in late 2020, Louis Ziskin appointed the Collection Company Limited, run by a woman he identified only as Mrs. Emily, to negotiate with the Paddy The Room Trading Company Limited for the purchase of nitrile gloves.
Louis Ziskin bought nearly $3million worth of nitrile gloves from Paddy The Room Trading Company Limited. However, the gloves were of poor quality, so Ziskin lost $2.95million dollars in the transaction.
According to Thai authorities, Ziskin demanded that Chung, a representative of the vendor, return the money he paid for the product.
After Chung turned down the request, Ziskin hired Israeli private detective Michael Greenberg to help with the recovery. Greenberg allegedly, came up with the abduction and ransom plot.
The conspirators lured Wen Yu Chung, 60, a Taiwanese representative of the Collection Company in Thailand, under the pretext of wanting to buy rubber gloves from the Paddy The Room Trading Company.
Both parties agreed to meet at L’Oliva, a restaurant in Bangkok’s Sukhumvit Soi 36, on March 28.
The waiting Chung was subsequently snatched from the restaurant by the alleged potential clients to a room at NT Place about 200 meters away on Soi 36, where several other people were waiting.
The abductors used Chung’s phone to call his boss, Mrs. Emily, with demand a $2million ransom demand. They also called his family demanding another $1million for his safe release.
The ransom demand was rejected and the blackmail targets called in law enforcement.
Their ransom demands rebuffed, the abductors later took Chung to another s restaurant to further consult with Ziskin on their next move.
The involvement of law enforcement it is alleged, pressured the group into eventually releasing the hostage at a hospital. He filed a complaint leading to arrest warrants being issued for one Thai and seven foreigners.
Police arrested and charged Ziskin, Manchester and Ekbodin in Bangkok on May 15.
Video released by Thai law enforcement show several Thai officers in tactical gear outside of Ziskin’s hotel door demanding he open the door.
A translator was with the group is heard yelling, ‘Just come out or we will break into your room. Please come out easily.’
The officers broke through the door, and the video picks up with Ziskin and the translator talking in the hotel room.
Ziskin told the translator, ‘They know the system, and they use you guys [the police], every step of the way. They make crazy reports.’
Ziskin, who was wearing a T-shirt with the slogan ‘why do I feel like I am surrounded by idiots’, was taken downstairs in an elevator surrounded by several officers.
The video next picks up with Jeremy Manchester being escorted out in handcuffs by heavily-armed Thai police officers.
The two Marines and their alleged accomplices paid nearly $10,000 for bail, but have to wear ankle monitors and can’t leave Thailand.
Chung said a total of eight people were involved in the kidnapping – four remain at large.
Greenberg is one of the four who are still on the loose.
‘The others are still in hiding,’ according to Thai law enforcement.
The group was charged with racketeering, extortion, abduction for ransom, among others.
All three denied have the charges.
Ziskin is one of eight men allegedly part of the scheme and one of four to be arrested, was born and raised in Los Angeles by divorced parents, Ziskin described himself in the Forbes profile as a ‘problem child.’
‘I was a mentally gifted minor who thought rules did not apply to me,’ he told Forbes in 2018.
He moved from school to school, finally going to and then dropping out of the University of Southern California.
The DropIn Inc Founder & CEO on his website, classifies his arrest and prison stay between 2000 and 2012 as ‘self reflection’ – “A forced hiatus, where Louis was able to reflect and hone in his business acumen, learn the law, and nurture his next big idea, which would become DropIn.”
Ziskin gained notoriety after Forbes profiled the DropIn CEO and tech founder, who became a multi-millionaire just seven years after he was released from prison for drug smuggling – the largest ecstasy bust in history at the time.
On Ziskin’s website, he classifies his arrest and prison stay between 2000 and 2012 as ‘self reflection’.
In 1998, Ziskin started importing ecstasy from Europe – he was arrested in 2000.
Ziskin established himself as a major ecstasy importer in the LA area. Initially he flew to Europe carrying large amounts of cash, purchased ecstasy and then flew back to the U.S. with the drugs.
Throughout 1999, the United States Customs Service intercepted numerous Federal Express and DHL packages containing multi-kilogram amounts of ecstasy sent from European countries to various commercial mailbox centers in the Los Angeles area.
In late December 1999, the USCS intercepted three ecstasy-filled packages from France which were bound for LA.
Couriers for the packages were arrested and then turned to being informants and co-operating with the operation. Seven hundred pounds of ecstasy were seized from two storage units and more than $1 million cash on December 22, 1999.
Ziskin was placed under surveillance for a year, as hen continued to conduct his own trafficking operation using Federal Express shipments. It was a convoluted process whereby he would send cocaine to the UK, then withdrew the proceeds from an English bank to purchase ecstasy.
US federal authorities arrested him in December 2000 and he was initially jailed for 30 years.
However on appeal in 2003 the sentence was reduced and he was freed from prison in 2011 and ended parole in 2013 when he appeared to be turning his life around and became a Hollywood-based entrepreneur.
In the time between his release from prison and the alleged actions in Bangkok, Ziskin was a poster child for how prison can reform someone.
He became a frequent public speaker lecturing about anti-recidivism and addiction recovery. He also gives regularly to organizations that contribute to addiction education.
In 2018 he was featured in an article on Forbes’ website speaking about his firm DropIn – an on-demand video streaming platform enabling customers to use a network of smartphones and drones.
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