A woman in Chiang Rai is calling on the authorities to help find her husband who was abducted in Israel during an attack by the Palestinian militant group Hamas on Oct 7.
Suntree Saelee, 28, a Hmong villager from Ban Kio Kan in tambon Rim Khong of Chiang Khong district, said she lost contact with her husband, 26-year-old Kong Saelao, during the attack.
Ms Suntree said her husband’s colleague told her that Hamas militants on Oct 7 raided a worker’s camp in an avocado orchard in Khirbet Mador, about 3 kilometres from the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian territory.
She said her husband’s colleague managed to escape, but Mr Kong and three other Thais remained in the camp. Later, the colleague showed pictures and a video clip of Mr Kong in a headlock, being dragged away by a group of men in military uniform, she said.
The pictures showed he was struggling to breathe, she noted.
A photo shows Kong Saelao, 26, being abducted by Palestinian militants during an attack on Israel on Oct 7. The photo, taken from a video clip, is being widely circulated online. (Photo supplied by Mr Kong’s friend)
“When I saw the picture and the clip, I knew it was him,” Ms Suntree said in tears. “I am concerned for his safety. Please help him.”
She said Mr Kong worked at the avocado farm for 11 months, earning about 50,000 baht per month. She said he was planning to save money to build a new home and buy a car for his family.
He is the only breadwinner in the family, she said, adding he spoke to her every day via an online platform.
She said that on the morning of Oct 7, he told her that a fight had broken out and he heard gunfire and explosions.
The call ended and she lost contact with him about 11.30am, she said.
Wirun Sitthiwong, district chief, said the provincial governor has instructed a Chiang Khong Hospital team to provide support to Ms Suntree’s family.
The district is also arranging the repatriation of Thai worker Weera Khantan from Israel following a request by the subdistrict head of tambon Wiang.
Wilaiporn Saeya, assistant village head of Ban Kio Doi Luang, said more than 20 Hmong men from Ban Kio Kan and Ban Kio Doi Luang have worked in Israel, while others work in South Korea.
Young men want to find better income for their families, so most people in the villages todayare elderly people, women and children, he said.
The men work abroad for 2-5 years to save money and pay their debts, he said.