Thai police have arrested a woman dubbed by the press as the “runaway bride” for allegedly marrying at least 11 different men and making off with dowries and gifts given to her and her family at wedding ceremonies.
Police arrested Jariyaporn Buayai, 32, in Samut Sakhon province just south of Bangkok, and then her “real” husband Kittisak Tantiwatkul, 33, in nearby Nakhon Pathom, on Thursday. They said they acted on old warrants related to charges of fraud and embezzlement amid concern that the pair were attempting to escape.
The case made headlines on Tuesday, when seven of the men filed complaints against the woman at the Crime Suppression Division. She allegedly married four men in one month at different wedding ceremonies, The Nation reported.
Songkran Achariyasap, a well-known lawyer who represented the men, said the woman had used the name Soipet Paleewal – a friend from the Northeast – and the dowries had been transferred to a bank account under that name. The different name was also allegedly used by Jariyaporn on a Facebook account to start romantic conversations with the victims which led to brief marriages and her fleeing with the money.
Police Lieutenant-General Thitirat Nonghanpitak, head of the Central Investigation Bureau, said on Friday that Jariyaporn had lured at least 11 men in various provinces into marrying her, and made off with more than 3 million baht (about US$91,000) of their money. He believed there were also other victims, the Bangkok Post reported.
Jariyaporn had been wanted on warrants issued over the past two years in four provinces for fraud and forgery of official documents. Kitti had five warrants out for his arrest for alleged theft, embezzlement and fraud.
Police said Jariyaporn usually got to know her victims via Facebook, then developed a sexual relationship, before luring some to co-invest in a “fruit trade business”. She allegedly claimed to some of the men that she was pregnant and demanded that they marry her – before fleeing with the grooms’ dowries and investment money. In one case, she also took a victim’s car.
Soipet, 27, admitted to police that she knows Jariyaporn but denied receiving any money. She said she lent her ID card to help her friend get a job in Pattaya. Police said she would not be charged.
Pol Lt Gen Thitirat said the woman’s parents – who attended their daughter’s marriages to her victims – had gone into hiding. But they would try to find out if the pair had conspired in the fake marriages.