11 July 2024

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin posted an X message today, expressing his thanks to all parties concerned for their help in securing the release on Wednesday night of four more Thai hostages held by Hamas.

He wrote that the four arrived at Hatzerim Airbase at about 2am local time today. They have been identified as Paibul Ratnil, Kong Sae Lao, Chakkraphan Seekaena and Chalermchai Saengkaew.

Kong’s wife, Suntree Sae Lee, said she was notified that her husband was one among the most recent group of hostages released by Hamas on Wednesday night, the anticipated last day of the ceasefire between Hamas and Israeli defence forces. There are, however, reports that the ceasefire may be extended for four additional days.

26-year-old Kong, a member of a hill tribe in the northern province of Chiang Rai, was last seen in a picture showing him being held by his Hamas captor. He went to Israel on November 8 last year to work on an avocado farm.

Meanwhile, Chiang Rai Governor Puttipong Sirimat has instructed local administration, labour and Thai Red Cross officials in Pan district to make preparations to receive former hostages who are residents of the province.

2,174 people from Chiang Rai were working in Israel at the time of the Hamas attack. Three are reported to have been killed and one injured. 1,101 have already returned to Thailand.