The Palestinian extremist faction, Hamas, has issued a dire warning, threatening to kill the innocent civilians they’ve taken hostage if Israel doesn’t cease its current air raid attacks on Gaza. This harrowing news has triggered a wave of fear among families of Thai laborers held captive, especially as so many lives have already been all too abruptly snatched away. Since the commencement of Hamas’s unexpected assault on Israel last Saturday, at least 18 Thai casualties have been reported and an additional 11 are current hostages.
Further instilling terror among the masses, Hamas has claimed to have around 150 hostages held captive, ready to face execution one after the other if Israel continues its relentless airstrike offensive on Gaza. Kanyarat Suriyasri, the reported wife of one Owat Suriyasri- a hostage, is living every moment in a dread-induced stupor following this horror.
Upon discovering that her better half was among the unfortunate 11 who had been captured, she shared with AFP that her heart plummeted with horror. Awaiting any semblance of positive news, Kanyarat recounts how Owat was not only an immensely caring, friendly and cheerful person but also a dedicated family man. Eager to offer a life of comfort to his wife and two kids, Owat moved to Israel in 2021 in hopes of better pay.
Like countless Thai laborers aiming to support their families back home, Owat was hoping to amass enough savings to build a decent home for his family while paying off his debts. “We have a lot of debts, and working abroad pays better than in Thailand,” Kanyarat disclosed.
Announcing that she would take back her promise of never letting her husband travel far once they are reunited, the emotional wife stated that the opportunity to hug him again is eagerly awaited.
Anucha Angkaew, an Avocado farm laborer, was another unfortunate person to find himself on the hostage list. His spouse, Wannida Ma-asa, is desolate since the incident occurred on a normal day after a routine video call. Regardless of the brutal threats issued by Hamas of executing the hostages, she holds onto the sliver of hope for the safe return of her husband, who is only 28.
Settled in Israel since March 2022, the father of a young daughter originally hailed from Udon Thani, a northeastern agricultural region in Thailand. Almost 30,000 Thais work in Israel, predominantly in the realm of Agriculture, similar to Anucha.
While they seek financial stability through better pay, a vast majority of such laborers have been subjected to exploitation. They stem from Thailand’s poorer rural northeastern region, purposefully choosing to work abroad to secure a more prosperous future for their family.
Unfortunately, a 2015 investigation by Human Rights Watch revealed the appalling conditions these migrant workers were subjected to. Not only were they housed in deplorable circumstances, but they also received wages less than the bare legal minimum.
Adisak Pengsuwan, another Thai laborer, hailing from Jittawan Promsudorn’s family, has been reported missing. Adisak had been employed on a farm in the Gaza Strip since March 2022, but the family lost all contact with him early Tuesday morning. “Earlier, he told us that all of his friends were all shot dead, but he was lucky to be able to run away to a bunker,” Jittawan recounted to AFP.
Adisak, he explained, had taken refuge with 19 other Thais in a bunker, where there was a dire shortage of food and drinkable water. Strengthening their fears, he stated his apprehension about leaving the bunker to find sustenance for fear of his life. Adisak, like many others, still awaits aid from Thai officials.
Cases like these have thrown many families into the throes of worry and despair. For instance, Adisak’s mother is in obvious distress, frequently checking in for updates about her son. These updates are potential lifelines, offering momentary solace or heartbreaking news.