In a heartbreaking turn of events, a family from Pla Pak district in the northeastern border province is facing the distressing possibility that their son is among the captives held by Hamas militants. A photograph, widely circulated on social media through an online news platform, portrays six individuals bound and held captive by militants wielding firearms. The captives are believed to be Thai and Filipino laborers, working at a construction site near the Israeli border.
Thawatchai and Thongkhoon Onkeaw, both aged 47 and hailing from Ban Nong Saeng in Pla Pak district, have identified one of the captives as their son, Natthaporn Onkeaw, fondly known as Tui, aged 26. Natthaporn had embarked on a journey to Israel in October 2021 to pursue work on a kibbutz, a decision facilitated through the Labour Ministry’s Employment Department. The journey incurred significant expenses, amounting to approximately 60,000 baht for travel and paperwork, with a promise of a monthly wage of around 50,000 baht throughout his five-year contract.
Daily communication through Facebook with Natthaporn came to an abrupt halt on a harrowing Saturday, coinciding with reports of the Hamas attack. Despite frantic attempts, the parents could not reestablish contact with Natthaporn or his Thai colleagues at the kibbutz. The distress heightened upon viewing the photo, as they became increasingly certain that Natthaporn was one of the unfortunate captives.
In another distressing incident reported by the media, a resident of Kantharalak District, Sisaket Province, named Miss Kanyarat, age 39, is deeply anguished over the potential fate of her husband, Mr. Owat, aged 40, who had left for agricultural work in Israel. The distressing images she received depict Mr. Owat and fellow hostages being held at gunpoint by two Hamas militants. Regrettably, news has surfaced that two Thai workers have already lost their lives in the attack.
The worrying incident unfolded on October 7, 2023, during a heavy Hamas assault on Israel. Miss Kanyarat, deeply distraught, recounted that her husband, Mr. Owat, was among the hostages. They have been married for years and have two children, aged 14 and 15. Mr. Owat had legally pursued agricultural work in Israel around July 2021. Communication between them had been consistent until Mr. Owat reported the shooting on October 7th, after which all attempts to contact him proved futile.
Expressing her grave concern, Miss Kanyarat earnestly prays for the safety of her husband and fellow Thai workers amidst the chaos. She firmly pledges that if Mr. Owat returns unharmed, she will vehemently oppose any future ventures abroad for work, despite the allure of good income. She implores relevant government agencies to promptly devise strategies to ensure the safe return of her husband and all fellow Thai workers.
As the situation intensifies, the Thai Embassy in Israel has made the difficult decision to temporarily close its consular services, effective from October 9, 2023. The move is aimed at enabling officials to focus their efforts on aiding distressed Thai nationals affected by the ongoing unrest in Israel, including those tragically taken hostage. The closure encompasses passport, civil registration, ID card, and visa services until further notice, a necessary measure during this dire and critical period.
In light of the continued strife and urgency to assist Thai nationals amidst the escalating war in Israel, the Royal Thai Embassy in Tel Aviv has announced the temporary closure of its consular section, effective from Monday, October 9, 2023. This decision, borne out of the need to prioritize assistance to Thai nationals in distress, encompasses services related to passports, civil registration, ID cards, and visas. The closure will remain in effect until the situation stabilizes, reflecting the Embassy’s commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of Thai citizens during this challenging time. We regret any inconvenience caused by this necessary action.