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Boy "kidnapped" from thai hospital
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  1. #1
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    Fears for children after boy vanishes from Thai hospital
    Sydney Morning Herald
    January 4, 2005

    A Swedish boy injured in the tsunami may have been abducted from a hospital in Thailand.

    Swedish and Thai police were co-operating to find 12-year-old Kristian Walker, Sweden's Expressen newspaper reported.

    "Kristian was here in the hospital. He was taken away by a man," a hospital doctor, Kampongsree Somprutthana, reportedly told the paper.

    Kristian's father, Dan Walker, and his grandfather, Daniel Walker, found several witnesses who recognised the boy, who vanished from the hospital, 30 kilometres from Khao Lak, one of Thailand's worst-hit resorts.

    The man he may have left with was described as "European-looking, with a moustache and a red shirt".

    Two Swedish police officers were on their way to Thailand to help find Kristian, Expressen reported, quoting police sources.

    The report came a day after the Swedish branch of Save the Children warned that children who ended up alone after the disaster could become targets for sexual abuse by pedophiles.

    "The experience from other catastrophes is that children are particularly vulnerable," said the managing director of Raedda Barnen, Charlotte Petri Gornitzka.

    There were already indications that surviving children had been sexually abused in Sri Lanka, Ms Petri Gornitzka said.

    Officials in Indonesia said they had launched an investigation into the unconfirmed reports of trafficking in orphaned children from the disaster.

    "We cannot say that it has happened, because at the moment it is a chaotic situation," said Makmur Sunusi, a social ministry official. "However, the ministry will investigate, as we cannot tolerate such a thing."

    Reuters, AFP

  2. #2
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    Boy, 12, not snatched
    The Nation, Published on January 04, 2005

    A Phang Nga hospital yesterday denied a 12-year-old Swedish tsunami survivor – reportedly kidnapped from the facility – was ever registered there.

    Dr Somprutthana Kampongsree, of Thai Muang Hospital, denied a Swedish media report that quoted her saying 12-year-old Kristian Walker was abducted from the facility by a European-looking man.

    Expressen newspaper quoted Somprutthana as saying: “Kristian was here in the hospital. He was taken away by a man.”

    But she told The Nation: “We cannot confirm that the boy sought treatment here. I can only say that he looks familiar. His name does not appear on the hospital records. It’s only a matter of perception. We have no evidence that he was here.”

    The Swedish boy named Kristian who appeared in hospital records had a different surname, she said.

    According to Expressen, Swedish and Thai police are cooperating to find the boy.

    Kristian’s father, Dan Walker, and his grandfather, Daniel Walker, found several witnesses who recognised the boy, who mysteriously disappeared from the hospital, about 30 kilometres from Khao Lak, one of the worst-hit resorts, it said.

    Two Swedish police are in the province to help find Kristian.

  3. #3
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    Wednesday January 5, 3:55 AM
    Swedish Boy Missing in Thailand

    Swedish and Thai police said Tuesday they were searching for a 12-year-old Swedish boy last seen leaving a hospital in Thailand with an unknown man in the aftermath of the tsunami in south Asia.

    A boy matching the description of Kristian Walker was last seen Monday with a German man at a hospital near the resort of Khao Lak but has since vanished, despite a desperate search by his American grandfather, Daniel Walker, family and police said.

    The boy was listed as missing by international law enforcement agencies worldwide Tuesday.

    Swedish and Thai police said they were searching for the boy, but said they could not confirm media reports that he had been kidnapped.

    Two Swedish police officers were assisting in the investigation, National Police spokeswoman Carolina Ekeus said.

    Dr. Pisith Yongyuth, director of Taimuang hospital in Phang Nga province, told AP that a German man brought a boy who might be Kristian to the hospital around 1 a.m. on Dec. 27 _ the day after the tsunami hit _ accompanied by another boy about 8 years old. By late morning, all three left.

    "We cannot confirm that this boy is really Kristian Walker; we can only say that he seems to be the boy described by his grandfather and media reports," Yongyuth said.

    While he acknowledged that his son may have already been taken out of Thailand, Dan Walker said he has urged Thai authorities to send Kristian's picture to all border patrols and airports to help prevent him from leaving the country.

    The Swedish tabloid Expressen and other media reported on their Web sites or in Tuesday's editions that police were searching for Kristian amid fears he was kidnapped. Expressen said the boy was accompanied at a hospital by a man described by employees as "European looking, with a moustache and red shirt."

    In the wake of the devastating tsunami, there have been unconfirmed reports of dozens of orphaned children being taken by unidentified people, some of them possibly child traffickers.

    Thai Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai said Tuesday the Thai government was working closely with hospitals to prevent human trafficking gangs from taking advantage of the situation, although he stressed that there was no firm indication that they were.

    Asked about the possible exploitation of children, U.N. refugee chief Ruud Lubbers told CNN: "We are prepared for this ill behavior. ... We are cautious."

    This week, the Swedish branch of Save the Children, or Raedda Barnen, warned governments in south Asia to be mindful of children left orphaned or without families in the disaster, saying they could be potential targets for pedophiles.

    "The experience from other catastrophes is that children are particularly vulnerable," said Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, managing director of the agency.

    Dan Walker said he was fearful that his son may have fallen prey to pedophiles that have been known to gather in Thailand, or child trafficking rings, but he was not sure.

    "I can only guess, and you can only guess, what has happened to him," Walker told The Associated Press.

    Thai Police Lt. Col. Preecha Kraewthanong said they were checking border points to see whether the boy and the man had left.

    "We are looking for him to be sure whether he kidnapped the boy or not and the boy was really Kristian Walker or not," he said.

    Kristian's father said two doctors at the hospital identified his son from photographs that were shown to them by Daniel Walker last week.

    Both men had gone to Phuket after the tsunami to search for their family, which was on vacation with Dan Walker's estranged wife, Madeleine, who is still missing. Dan Walker's two other children, David, 14, and Anna, 7, were found and are back home in Sweden with him.

    Daniel Walker, a trained paramedic and former U.S. Marine, has remained in Thailand to search for his grandson.

    While Kristian's name does not appear in any hospital records, Dan Walker said his father is convinced hospital officials are correct.

    "To me, that's enough to keep searching," he said.

    Dan Walker said Kristian speaks English but it was unclear whether the boy in the hospital had talked to the man he left with. If Kristian did leave willingly with another man, he must have won his trust, Dan Walker said.

    "I assume that he wasn't drugged or in a state of shock," he said.

    ___

    Associated Press reporter Sutin Wannabovorn in Bangkok, Thailand, contributed to this report.

  4. #4
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    Thursday January 6, 12:23 AM
    German Cleared in Disappearance of Boy

    A 12-year-old Swedish tsunami victim who was the focus of reports that he may have been kidnapped was never treated at any Thai hospital, the health ministry said Wednesday.

    A child matching the description of Kristian Walker was seen leaving Taimuang hospital, in devastated Phang Nga province, a day after the tsunami struck on Dec. 26. He was last seen with an unidentified foreign man leaving the hospital.

    But police said Wednesday the man, Stephan Kayser of Munich, Germany, has been cleared after questioning.

    Police Sgt. Vichai Boonruen said police had confirmed Kayser's account that he had helped seven people, including a Swedish boy named Martin Samerud, who later was reunited with his mother.

    "We have ruled out the theory that this man kidnapped anyone," Vichai said.

    Vichai Thienthavorn, permanent secretary of the Public Health Ministry, told reporters that Kristian never showed up in Taimuang or any other hospital in Thailand.

    "The reports about the disappearance of the boy might have resulted from a misunderstanding," he said. "We have make thorough checks of the records, and no such name arrived at any hospital."

    Police brought Kayser and his wife, Annette, from their home in badly hit Phang Nga province to meet with media in Phuket. The couple said they have lived in Thailand for about half of each of the last five years in a house about three miles from the beach and not far from the hospital. It was unscathed by the tsunami, so they wanted to help out.

    They initially took in two German couples and their two children who had no other place to stay except the hospital. On another trip to the hospital, they met Martin, who they said has shoulder-length blond hair and has only a slight resemblance to fellow Swede, Kristian.

    "His parents were missing and he had no bed of his own. He was lying in the bed of some huge, strange man and there were two Swedish people who were not injured" looking after him, Mrs. Kayser said.

    The Swedish men asked Kayser if he and his wife would look after Martin if the doctors said the boy could leave.

    "We asked the boy whether he wanted to come, and he wanted to, and the next morning we brought him back," Mrs. Kayser said, noting that Martin was reunited with his mother then.

    Kristian's grandfather, Daniel Walker of Vero Beach, Fla., attended the news conference and said Kayser had "absolutely zero" to do with his grandson. He also applauded the Kaysers for helping tsunami victims.

    Daniel Walker has been going around with photos of Kristian, and doctors at Taimuang hospital said they had seen a boy who looked like him come in for treatment for water in his ears.

    "I will be hopeful until the last minute," Walker said Wednesday.

    Kristian had been on vacation with his mother, Madeleine, who is still missing, along with bother David, 14, and sister Anna, 7, who were found and are back home in Sweden.

    Two Swedish police officers have been assisting in the investigation, Swedish National Police spokeswoman Carolina Ekeus said.

    In the wake of the devastating tsunami, there have been unconfirmed reports of dozens of orphaned children being taken by unidentified people, some of them possibly child traffickers.

    Thai Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai said Tuesday his government was working closely with hospitals to prevent human trafficking gangs from taking advantage of the situation, although he stressed that there was no firm indication that they were.

    This week, the Swedish branch of Save the Children warned governments in south Asia to be mindful of children left orphaned or without families in the disaster, saying they could be potential targets for pedophiles.

    "The experience from other catastrophes is that children are particularly vulnerable," said Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, managing director of the agency.

    On Wednesday, UNICEF spokesman John Budd, based in Banda Aceh, said the group had two confirmed reports of attempted child trafficking but he did not immediately provide further details.

    Fueling the suspicions, many Indonesians have received mobile phone text messages this week inviting them to adopt orphans from Aceh. The police are investigating the messages. It's not clear whether they are pranks, real adoption offers or linked to trafficking networks.

  5. #5
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    Thai Police Say Missing Swedish Boy Not Kidnapped
    Wed Jan 5, 2005 11:33 AM ET
    By Noppawan Bunluesilp

    KHAO LAK, Thailand (Reuters) - A case of mistaken identity has heaped mystery on the disappearance of a 12-year-old Swedish boy in Asia's tsunami, police said on Wednesday.

    The fate of Kristian Walker had triggered a police investigation and worldwide media speculation that the boy might have been kidnapped from a Thai hospital.

    But police said the reports of Kristian being in hospital had turned out to be a case of mistaken identity caused by a Thai doctor who could not tell two European children apart.

    "There is no evidence that Kristian Walker has been kidnapped, but we are still looking for him," Sub-Inspector Stephen Katay told reporters.

    The boy was staying at the Ayara Villas hotel on Khao Lak beach, just north of the resort island of Phuket, with his mother, brother and sister when the killer waves roared up the gently sloping beach and crumpled hotels lining it.

    The brother and sister survived the tragedy, but the mother and Kristian were reported missing.

    A Thai doctor later told Kristian's grandfather, who is in Thailand to try to find his grandson and daughter-in-law, that he was convinced he had treated Kristian after the disaster and that a Western man had then taken the boy away.

    But police found the man -- a German resident of Thailand named Stephen Kayser -- and confirmed he had accompanied a German boy to the hospital, not Kristian.

    "There has been a misunderstanding," Police Captain Chaiyapong Kanpai told Reuters. "The doctor told me that all European children looked alike to him."

    Kristian's grandfather, Daniel Walker, said he would go on looking for the boy. "I won't give up my hope," he said.

    The former Marine blamed the media for the confusion.

    "A serious misunderstanding has come up and that's your fault," he told reporters.

    The tsunami killed more than 5,200 people in Thailand, nearly half of them tourists, most of whom died on Khao Lak beach, where search teams are still pulling bodies from the rubble and debris.

    Hundreds of bloated bodies are still to be identified.

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