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Ricardo on Phuket with his mother (left) great aunt and stepmother Kimberley

Airport Alert for Phuket Boy Snatched by Dutch Stepmother in Abduction Wrangle

Friday, February 18, 2011
AN URGENT plea has been issued by a Phuket family to prevent a young Thai boy from being taken out of the country by his stepmother in an international tug-of-love.

The boy, Ricardo Chain Pol Choosaneh, is the nine-year-old son of a woman from a well-off Patong family and a Dutchman. The Dutchman won a custody hearing in Europe but according to the Phuket family is not capable of providing proper support and care for the boy.

Ricardo's stepmother Kimberley Ching-Yong is believed to have obtained a passport for the boy from a Dutch official on Phuket yesterday and to now be in the process of fleeing Thailand with Ricardo.

She is thought to be likely to try to leave the country with Ricardo via Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport.

Ricardo, who returned to Phuket in May with his mother Sumetha, was due to begin studying at Phuket's British International School on Monday. His distraught mother, who is is Bangkok studying, told Phuketwan today that it was a clear case of kidnapping.

''We trusted Kimberley and allowed her to come to visit Ricardo on Phuket,'' she said.

It was a tit-for-tat ''family abduction'' that replicated the snatching committed by Khun Sumetha to bring the boy back to Thailand, where he was born at Mission Hospital, on Phuket.

''Please, please help me,'' Khun Sumetra said. ''Tell people that my son is being taken from me in Thailand. I want my boy back.''

Stepmother Kimberley was allowed to visit Ricardo this year for his ninth birthday on Phuket and treated as Ricardo's second mother.

The snatching will restore the case to television news and newspaper coverage in the Netherlands, where officials take the view that the Dutch father has custody, and that his Thai mother committed a family abduction by taking the boy and escaping from Europe with him via France in May last year.

When Phuketwan visited Ricardo in Patong and at a golf course late last year, all seemed peaceful in his world in the care of a loving, extended Thai family who were providing for his every need.

The family today sent Phuketwan the following copy of an email addressed to the Netherlands National Missing Persons Bureau (LBVP):

''My name is Prangtip Sakornsin and I am the great aunt of Ricardo Chain Pon Choosaneh (Ricardo). The LBVP has listed Ricardo as being abducted, however this was never in fact true. Ricardo's natural parents, Ms Sumetha Choosaneh (Sumetha) and Mr Michael Roland van Alphen (Michael), gave birth to Ricardo in Phuket, Thailand (Ricardo is a natural Thai citizen and possesses a Thai Passport). During this time, Sumetha, Michael and Ricardo lived with me as a family before moving to the Netherlands where Michael believed he had better opportunities for employment, but Michael was unable to find work in the Netherlands to support the family. It was Sumetha that found work in France; both Michael and Ricardo stayed in the Netherlands while Sumetha went to work in France. By the permission of Ricardo's mother Sumetha, Ricardo was being cared for by his father Michael, however Michael, being unfit to care for Ricardo, allowed several of his girlfriends to care for Ricardo, one of these girlfriends was a woman named Kimberley Ching-Yong (Kimberley).

''When Sumetha learned that Michael was unfit to care for their son Ricardo, she traveled to the Netherlands to be reunited with her son and to return with her son to his birth home and family in Thailand. Sumetha located Ricardo and took him back home, and now her reunion with her son is being reported as a 'Family Abduction.' Kim presented no proof of custody to Sumetha, and as far as Sumetha was concerned, Michael's girlfriend Kimberley was no more than a nanny for Ricardo. Sumetha believed, and continues to believe, that Kimberley has no valid claim to the custody of Ricardo.

''Ricardo has been back home in Thailand since May, 2010, and we have just celebrated his ninth birthday. Our family is very grateful that Kimberley was able to care for Ricardo during Michael's inability to do so, in fact I invited Kimberley to be my guest in Thailand so that she would be able to visit with Ricardo and celebrate his birthday with our family. Kimberley was very pleased to see Ricardo and is still with us in Thailand as I write this letter (I have included a picture of the celebration, from left to right, Sumetha, Ricardo, myself and Kimberley). As you can see, Ricardo is now where he belongs, with his mother and surrounded by family and friends.

''Ricardo has recently been accepted to the British International School (BIS), Phuket which provides world-class facilities on a 40-acre campus that enable students to excel in sports as well as in their academic studies. BIS was established in 1996 and is home to some 850 students from 18 months to 18 years of age. The student population comes from within Thailand and from overseas, with over 36 different nationalities represented.

''Ricardo is very happy and is looking forward to attending BIS, where he will start in attendance on February 20, where he will receive the best education possible, which we feel is in his best interests at this time in his life.

''At this time we are in the process of researching a resolution to the outstanding case that the LBVP has concerning Ricardo, and in doing so, we would like to request your assistance. We would be very grateful if the LBVP would please reply to this letter with advice and counsel . . .

Respectfully, Prangtip Sakornsin''

Kimberley extended what was to be a stay of just a week and then deferred her flight home on February 14. Yesterday, the family realised she had disappeared with Ricardo and went to the police.
Phuket Love-Tangle Boy Safe, Happy in Patong
Latest An international romance that went wrong has led to eight year old Ricardo being brought back to Phuket by his Thai mother without the permission of his Dutch father.
Phuket Love-Tangle Boy Safe, Happy in Patong

Phuket Boy in 'Kidnap from Europe' Drama
Breaking News A Thai mother who was granted access to her boy in the Netherlands fled with him first to France then probably to Phuket, the boy's grieving step mother tells Phuketwan.
Phuket Boy in 'Kidnap from Europe' Drama

Phuket City Arrest: FBI Fly American Dad, Girl Home
Breaking News FBI agents have combined with Immigration officers to arrest an American father who is accused of kidnapping his daughter and fleeing with her to Phuket.
Phuket City Arrest: FBI Fly American Dad, Girl Home


Comments have been disabled for this article.


So the natural mother is 'in bangkok studying' not taking care of the child.. Sure seems like the Dutch parents have a stronger desire to actually raise him !!

Posted by LivinLOS on February 18, 2011 10:55

Editor Comment:

As the story says, Ricardo has a large and loving extended family, in the Thai fashion. The western view of the family being just a mother and father does not apply in Thailand, and hopefully never will.


Editor comments really do not show objectiveness. The fact is the mother abducted the son in the first place. Mother is not caring for the son. Father is assigned custody by court.

Therefore the mother is in the wrong. Do not try to justify this with thai culture of leaving children with the extended family as this happens everywhere in the world. The stepmother is also extended family in a western culture

simple case of abduction by the mother and i am amazed the thai police did not act on a known abduction case

Posted by rr on February 18, 2011 12:21

Editor Comment:

You mean, your interpretation of my remarks doesn't show objectiveness, nor does your summary of the case. We'd prefer to remain objective and not make the kinds of judgements you rush to make in ignorance, rr. This is very much a situation where possession counts, which is shameful.


The point remains, the Thai mother initially abducted the child, against a court ordered custody agreement for the father to retain custody.

But once she has the child back to Thailand she doesn't bother to raise him, instead farming it out on extended family, while the father does wish to actually raise his son.

Posted by LivinLOS on February 18, 2011 13:30

Editor Comment:

Unless you have some direct experience with this particular case, it's foolish to make assumptions of that kind. What if, as the Thai family claims, the Dutch father cannot properly support his son? We've heard (a) that the boy was a latchkey child in Delft, with his own doorkey, and (b) that he is likely to be packed off to boarding school. But we can't vouch for the accuracy of those claims. A court should make a fair and balanced decision in the best interests of the boy, and not just give the appearance of being a Dutch court supporting a Dutch father. Meanwhile, we will not make idle judgements. You shouldn't either.


This boy also have Dutch nationality and Dutch government gave the father custody. It seems the mother kidnapped the boy from Holland to Thailand. If the mother does not agree custody from the father she must go to court. The mother now play Thai theatre! The mother studies in Bangkok, how can she take care for him while the boy is in Phuket? Besides schooling in Europe is much better than in Thailand! Ricardo also have Dutch family, what's wrong with them? And please don't forget, every story has two (2) versions!

Posted by Tinnakohn on February 18, 2011 13:30

Editor Comment:

Both sides have practiced deception, and the mother's claim is that she will never receive a fair hearing from a Dutch court. The boy has a large extended Thai family, which may be better, if the family's claim is true, than the life of a latchkey child with a father who, according to the Thai family, is only interested in control, and not especially caring. The mother says she worked in France to support the boy while he was with his father, but was usually denied access or the opportunity to even talk to the boy. That's cruelty. A fresh court hearing now seems the only solution. When the boy is grown, it will be interesting to see what decisions he makes for himself. But that's nine years away.


Ed... have to agree with LivinLOS. She's no parent - being a Thai is no excuse. Either you have a child and care for that child or you do not. So Ed, what you are saying it's fine for parents to abandon their children and dump their responsibly on someone else... yes Ed, very Thai. You are obviously not a parent and if you are have no moral qualms about abandoning a child.

The father also already has legal custody, so why the use of the work Kidnap?

Posted by Graham on February 18, 2011 14:38

Editor Comment:

Whether you agree with LivinLOS or not doesn't bother me one bit, Graham, nor does it mean that because two of you share a belief, your view is responsible or correct. To say ''you are obviously not a parent'' only proves how quick you are to base your outlook on false assumptions devoid of logic. Fortunately, the rights and wrongs of this case will not be decided by you and LivinLOS.


In my reaction I said that the rich Thai family ignores Dutch law. I am not amused you deleted that part of my reaction! In your comment you say:"We'd prefer to remain objective" but you are not, you never have contact with the Dutch family! Besides the mother of the child has a very bad reputation in Holland, also Thai people living in Holland comment about that and say she is not a good mother! Your article is not objective but very subjective! Sorry this is the truth and nothing but the truth!

Posted by Tinnakohn on February 18, 2011 14:54

Editor Comment:

I don't recall deleting anything of the kind and a check on what you filed shows that you've made up that part of your comment to try to discredit us. Shameful, really. We've had contact with the Dutch family - Kimberley was spokesperson for the family - for a long time. Both families trusted us with their accounts. We are not in a position to make judgements, only report this tragic matter. On the other hand, you resort to shouting (!) and are clearly taking a biased view. Here, by the way, is your original unedited comment, which is exactly as we published it - apart from corrections. We expect an apology.

This boy also have Dutch nationality and
Dutch government gave the father custody. It seems the mother kidnapped the boy from Holland to Thailand. If the mother doesnot agree custody from the father she must go to court. The mother now play Thai theatre! The mother studies in Bangkok, how can she take care for him while the boy is in Phuket? Besides schooling in Europe is mutch better than in Thailand! Ricardo also have Dutch family, whats wrong with them? And please don't forget, every soty has two (2) versions!


Ed.. and more is the pity. Parents should be responsibly for the children's welfare and to create a loving environment. How many Thai kids actually know who their parents are?

Regarding my statement about you not having children... as least get it right.. I said "You are obviously not a parent and if you are have no moral qualms about abandoning a child." Therefore coving a have and have not.

Tell you what Ed... How about you run a poll and see how many people think it's despicable to abandon a child so that a person can "Go Study in BKK" extended family or not. Where's her morals or is this Thai culture as well not to give a S*** about anything and anyone but yourself. What a wonderful example people like these are to humanity. How can anyone even being to defend this behavior?

Posted by Graham on February 18, 2011 15:14

Editor Comment:

The fact you are happy to repeat your malicious insults only shows how little you think before you type. And you start with a racist comment. Shame on you. I bar you from reading Phuketwan.


Has anyone asked young Ricardo what he would like? Has he learned to speak English or Thai yet as I do remember that his only language was Dutch.

Will he be living with his family while attending BCIS or will he be boarding?

Yes why did the mother want him only to leave him again?

Posted by VFaye on February 18, 2011 16:11

Editor Comment:

Mothers do not have to be in the same room as their children around the clock as evidence that they really care. Many modern mothers sacrifice time with their children to work. Some have to leave their children for long periods.

Does a mother serving in the US Navy somehow love her children less than one who can afford to stay home? This is an argument totally without substance in the 21st century.

A Dutch journalist and photographer who visited Phuket will be in a better position than most to assess where Ricardo would be happiest. They interviewed him in Dutch, having been given total free access by the Thai family. They have also had a chance to assess the father. No doubt they will report the latest development at some point.


WWooowww Ed...wake up on the wrong side of the bed again? Four people have made a comment and you come back at all with " all guns blazing!!" Is this really neccessary? You are far too protective of most articles posted on PW and let let others have an opinion..Why?

Posted by david on February 18, 2011 16:12

Editor Comment:

I'm not ''protective'' of anything but I'm always ready to challenge the views of those who think they know it all or can't tell right from wrong. Personal attacks are not encouraged. Nor is blinkered thinking. We've done our research, and we welcome comments from others who have also done their research. All opinions are fine, as long as they have validity and and are not simply black-hearted browbeating. I get out of the same side of the bed every day. If you fear the prospect of having your views challenged, don't waste your time at Phuketwan.


Ed., It's time you took a long holiday.

Posted by A. Skeptic on February 18, 2011 16:18


Ed stop ranting and just report the news.
Phuket wan is starting to get a little boring

Posted by lord Jim on February 18, 2011 16:50

Editor Comment:

Nah, that way you'd get your views expressed without challenge, Lord Jim. And that just wouldn't be right.


In your article and your comments you are creating a atmosphere as the Dutch
father is bad and the Thai mother is good. You alse dont trust Dutch judges!You can read it between the lines! You also wrote it clearly the Thai family is
better because they are rich, bloody nonsens, the level of someonse bankaccount has nothing to do with a good heart. You justify the mothers kidnapping, in basic that's allready not objective!

Posted by Tinnakohn on February 18, 2011 17:13

Editor Comment:

We've said nothing of the kind. Parents can be good parents, rich or poor. But the father in this case has a very poor reputation with the family. You read what we write but have your own mind already set. You conclude the father is good and the mother is bad.You even think adding an exclamation mark helps your case. And where is your apology for accusing us of censorship when there was none? If you don't know what you've written, you will have trouble opening your mind to unbiased accounts.


"the mother's claim is that she will never receive a fair hearing from a Dutch court." You call this objective?
If a foreigner must go to court in Holland, there ia always a translater, in this case a Thai native speaker!
I allready tell you the mother plays theatre and you are not objective! Also
I think the boy is allready on a plane,
if not, now Dutch government knows where he is, government will ask Thai
government to mediate and take care of the boy should be send back to his father!

Posted by Tinnakohn on February 18, 2011 17:24

Editor Comment:

This is the comment section. Little here is objective - certainly not your comments. We report in an unbiased, professional fashion, and I respond here to what readers have to say. You can yell all you like (!) your logic remains seriously impaired. It's plain you're totally biased.


Editor said "And where is your apology for accusing us of censorship when there was none?" The thing is you can't
proof you don't take out some of my comment, I also cannot proof you did!
But now you play an unfair game I give no reactions anymore! My level is higher than yours! Me and my (Thai)wife
know everything about the mother of Ricardo but I don't tell you (moderated)

Posted by Tinnakohn on February 18, 2011 17:36

Editor Comment:

We keep originals of all comments so i can say with accuracy that you can't even remember what you wrote and what you didn't write. And you've now proved your bias.


Dear Editor, rereading your article, it is quite obvious you choose sides. Printing a detailed e-mail of one side shows it, at least indicates it to me - as an unfamiliar reader.

Besides the point that it is quite a joke, that the caring from a distant mother thinks, she will get no fair hearing. It is obvious she has bad cards in front of a European family court. Because they rule in favour of what is best for the kid. And best, and that is their rock hard idea, is, what the kid already knows and does. Changing the situation is bad and only ok, if his situation (in Holland) is miserable. But having a key to home is not a problem. It's a way of life for a lot of kids here. Good? I doubt it, but common.

The dutch court cannot judge what would happen with his wider family in Phuket. Even here the mother left to fullfill her dreams, where her son did take part parttime. That is an obvious conclusion from her behavior, not her talking.

That said, it breaks my heart for Ricardos aunt and uncle, who by all means provided an excellent place for Ricardo to grow up and flourish. A totally differnet life to live then in Holland.

But he is not their property, he is the kid of two persons and the mother was seen unfit to take care of him, not the father. It is not about the wider family capabilities as you cannot count on them - what happens if Ricardo turns difficult? Still the loving aunt, still paying for the great school? Just a thought.

In the end the parents should come together and find a solution, but the problem is, that the mother with her actions really made it difficult. If you take away the rich uncle, what can the mother provide? What did she do, that a Dutch court take the mother out of the picture? That is highly unusual and not taken lightly.

Posted by Lena on February 18, 2011 18:32

Editor Comment:

So many experts, so many people out there who not only know all about journalism but also have a complete understanding of how custody court hearings work in the Netherlands.

Read the article as many times as you wish, Lena. More reading may increase your comprehension, but it won't alter the facts. This is our third article on this topic and it does not surprise me that so many ''good judges'' now come out in the open to declare how wonderful the European court system is and how justice has been done.

None of you, of course, have any idea whether justice has been done. All I can say is that a Thai mother pleading for justice against a Dutch father in a Dutch court has about the same chance of justice as a Dutch father would have pleading for justice against a Thai mother in a Thai court.

Our article is not biased. Over three articles, we've given sympathetic hearings to both sides. We've only had the opportunity to see and hear Ricardo on Phuket, and we found him being treated very well. Kimberley actually contacted us by email before she came to Phuket, perhaps - we can only guess - thinking we might be allies in her snatch attempt. When it was made obvious that we weren't taking sides, she didn't contact us again.

We don't know where justice lies in this case, but if we did have a view, it would be better informed and more reliable than that of all those who have made up their minds so far.


Understanding that this is a Thai based website and that the first point of access will be on the ground I can see that the Thai family will likely have a lot to say. I assume no comment available yet from the Dutch side so we will have to wait to hear more.

I think both sides might have similar negative feelings to the other.

As a duel citizen jurisdiction is complicated since one country already took action.

Posted by Rob on February 18, 2011 18:36


I do tire of the Ed's seemingly constant Thai-way-is-the-best-way attitude (perhaps demonstrated by "the western view of the family being just a mother and father does not apply in Thailand, and hopefully never will.") or possibly even vaguely racist ("A court should make a fair and balanced decision in the best interests of the boy, and not just give the appearance of being a Dutch court supporting a Dutch father.").

Posted by MS R.E. Gutz on February 18, 2011 21:51

Editor Comment:

Tiresome how it has taken you until now to offer a view on anything at all, MS R. E. Gutz.


I believe that if Sumetha was a Dutch woman and Michael was a Thai man, then Sumetha would have been given custody of the child.I believe she's correct in thinking she wouldn't get a fair custody hearing.

Ricardo's had a taste of both worlds, maybe he should be consulted as to where he would prefer to live.

Posted by AntzPantz on February 18, 2011 22:08


This site is a welcome addition to the media scene in Phuket.

All people that leave comments have a chance to add something but it would be more constructive if everybody took a breath and a few minutes instead of just being so reactive.

Editors and journalists aren't perfect but I think that some commentators take things too personally.

It would be good if everybody chilled out and entered into an engaging but polite dialogue.

Posted by Rob on February 18, 2011 23:51


Dear Ed,
when I state it is obvious for me you took sides, then it is. Maybe not your intention, I don't know. Sorry, if I hurt your feelings.

With the court ruling, I just wanted to shed light on what grounds european courts rule. It is not, who is richer or who will get the boy the best education. It is about what is best for the boy. And one corner stone is, that change of situation is not good for him, if he is in a ok situation and/or the changed situation cannot be forecasted properly. So it is quite common - specially in international cases like this - to snatch the kid, pamper him, let him grow into the new situation and then the court may decide, that now this new situation is ok and changing it is bad. Actually I really do not like this idea of change is bad for the kid. But it seems not to gotten through in my former comment...

Last but not least, from all the unbiased reporting by you, I come to the maybe wrong conclusion, that the mother was more a rolling stone then able to build a nest for the boy. Whereas given the shortcomings of the father, he provided a home for the kid. Maybe not so nice as the uncle and the aunt, maybe Ricardo will have a more careless life with them, but they are not his parents.

And for the mother pleading for her kid: she is in Bangkok "studying" and is "parking" her kid in Phuket. Maybe this runs well with Thai family courts but it does not in Europe. Nothing to do if she is Thai or Dutch, that behavior does not show enough sincerity in the way the Dutch system decides fits best for the wellbeing of the kid. Thats the law in Holland. Or are you telling me, that it is unfair for Thais to be treated the same like any other dutch mother would have been?

So in the end it comes to this: If you denounce the right of the parent who is given custody, then you can denounce any parent the right to their kid, if there are some other relatives maybe more kind and capable to raise their kid, if they want to. So as a parent with kids, I know maybe they would have a better life with my rich brother and his kind wife, but they are my kids. And here maybe again we, you and me, are fundamentally different.

Btw: I am not an expert in journalism, I never said so. I am only an expert in what I comprehend after reading an article like this.

Posted by Lena on February 19, 2011 06:51

Editor Comment:

Lena, we have no knowledge of what transpired at the custody hearing, and we don't even know whether both parties were represented. That makes all speculation by readers simply guesswork.

Phuketwan hasn't take sides. The article is fair and factual, if unavoidably one-sided. Astute readers understand that if President Obama makes a speech, Sarah Palin's comments won't always be carried in the same report. Getting a quote from someone who is in the process of abducting a child is never going to be easy.



Posted by Tinnakohn on February 19, 2011 21:01

Editor Comment:

This site only carries comments in English.



Posted by Tinnakohn on Saturday February 19, 2011 at 21:01

Editor Comment:

This site only carries comments in English.

I wrote a comment in Thai because the moderater of this website thinks he knows everything! I wrote him I am not only Dutch but also Thai and the Dutch Judges are very good and fair,thats why
the international court is in The Hague!
The editor only likes one way traffic in
comment and is tunnelvisioned!
Maybe the rich Thai family of Ricardo payed him/her to write the way Chutima did!

Posted by Tinnakohn on February 19, 2011 21:49

Editor Comment:

Your false and libellous accusations show how far you have strayed from logic and reason. The placement of the International Court in the Hague - with international judges - does not endow Dutch custody court judges with infallibility, as they would probably be the first to admit. If you have a first-hand account of what happened in court during the custody case, please provide it. If not, stop behaving like a talking exclamation mark. We don't have time to waste on gossip and guesswork.


Dear Ed,
would love to hear a follow-up as the story still disturbs me.
Hopefully the parents of Ricardo can develop a situation where Ricardo can live in Holland and Thailand, one country most of the time, the other at least on holidays, as it is very sad, that he seems to be stolen one part of his heritage one way or the other. If the parents could build some trust, some moderated agreement and commitment, for the sake of the little boy, so he can grow up enriched by two cultures and not savaged by the lack of one part of him. Maybe next year you can provide a foto of all family celebrating his 10 birthday.

Posted by Lena on February 21, 2011 00:49


Just like Lee Aldhouse and every other "airport alert" for a crime or issue of concern, it will be shown that to leave Thailand without being detained, is just a matter of a couple thousand baht.

Posted by JingJing on February 27, 2011 08:43

Editor Comment:

Lee Aldhouse left via a land border. There is no evidence that he had to pay extra to do so. You're guessing, JingJing.

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