In the province of Khon Kaen, a family holds onto hope and prayers as they plead desperately for the safe return of their loved one, Natthawaree Mulkan, a 35-year-old overseas worker believed to have been kidnapped in Israel. Boonyarin Srichan, Natthawaree’s mother, is grappling with the profound anguish of uncertainty, having failing to receive any form of communication from her daughter since she was reportedly seized along with her boyfriend, Boonthom, in the midst of erupting violence in Israel.
The disturbing silence from Thai authorities has further fueled the family’s distress. Boonyarin, aged 56, sternly resists the urge to watch harrowing footage showing Thai workers being held captive within the strife-laden region. “I have forcefully detached myself from viewing those videos. I cannot bear the sight,” she expressed. Notably, an alarming total of 16 Thais have been reported taken hostage since the onset of this conflict, and tragically, 24 have lost their lives while 16 others have sustained injuries.
Despite the painful reality, a ray of hope emanates from a video sent to Boonyarin by a Thai worker based in Israel, identified as Art. Recognized as a close friend to Natthawaree’s boyfriend, Boonthom, Art remarkably identified Natthawaree as the woman in white, enclosed within a trailer. Believed to have been captured by Hamas militants, the video was circulated among the Thai workers residing in the country. From the details provided by Art, it appears that Boonthom and Natthawaree departed their camp on their motorcycle intending to indulge in some extra work, shortly before their abduction.
“The weight of our worry is unbearable, especially since our ability to effect change is dishearteningly minimal,” confessed Boonyarin. “All we can do are engage in religious rituals and plead fervently with the divine beings for their safety and ultimate return. She was due to fulfill her contractual obligations and make her way home in seven months.” Simultaneously, it was discovered that Boonthom was possibly living and working in the country under unofficial status. The couple made plans to solemnize their relationship in matrimony upon their homecoming to Thailand.
During a media interaction, Boonyarin managed to conduct a live phone call with Art, who introduced himself as Pichai Silueang. He shed light on his circumstances, stating that he was moved from his workplace at a farm located in Israel’s south, to a location farther north, away from the direct heat of the battle. He affirmed that he harbors no immediate plans to return to Thailand, but would consider registering for repatriation, should he find himself engulfed by feelings of insecurity or danger.