Immigration officials have told Phuketwan that Kimberley Ching-Yong is recorded as having crossed the border at Sungai Kolok in Narathiwat province in a vehicle on February 19, with no sign of the boy.
Tug-of-love boy Ricardo Chain Pol Choosaneh, who recently celebrated his ninth birthday, was due to start at Phuket's British International School this week.
But Kimberley Ching-Yong, supplied with documentation for the boy by local Dutch officials, stole him from his natural mother and disappeared.
Ms Ching-Yong's trip from Europe to Phuket to help celebrate Ricardo's ninth birthday had been paid for by the boy's Patong-based Thai family.
Ms Ching-Yong raised Ricardo from the age of nine months until May last year, when the boy's mother Sumetha Choosaneh abducted her son from the care of his father, Michael Roland van Alphen, in the Dutch city of Delft, fleeing back to Phuket via France.
Sumetha Choosaneh says she was not represented at a Dutch hearing where the court awarded custody to his father, and that while working in France to support her son, she was consistently denied access and not even allowed to talk to him.
After the previous report on the boy's case, Phuketwan received correspondence from Ricardo's great aunt, Prangtip Sakornsin.
Having spoken to both the boy's mother and Thai family and to his foster mother at different times, at no stage has Phuketwan taken sides in this double-abduction. Deep emotions are clearly felt by his mother, and by the woman who raised him.
In the interests of the boy's whereabouts becoming known as soon as possible, Phuketwan now draws the attention of authorities in the Netherlands to Khun Prangtip's correspondence:
''I would like to begin by thanking you for printing our story in Phuket Wan; we appreciate your support, however there was a misunderstanding concerning the legal status of Kimberley Ching-Yong (Kimberley). You reported that Kimberley was the stepmother to Ricardo Chain Pon [also Pol] Choosaneh (Ricardo), but this is not now, nor was it ever true that Kimberley is or was Ricardo's stepmother. Kimberley is not now, nor was she ever married to Ricardo's natural father, Michael Roland van Alphen (Michael). Michael and Kimberley (who is 10 years his senior) have never been married, nor have they ever lived together as husband and wife, therefore Kimberley can never claim to be Ricardo's stepmother. Legally, Kimberley has never been more than a ''caregiver'' or ''nanny'' to Ricardo. It is our understanding that Michael, knowing he was unable to care for Ricardo, requested that Kimberley care for the child; Michael took this action without informing Ricardo's mother Sumetha Choosaneh (Sumetha), which was contrary to the agreement made between Ricardo's parents Michael and Sumetha. They agreed that Michael would care for Ricardo while Sumetha went to work in France, and that if Michael was unable to care for their son, he would return Ricardo to Sumetha.
Unfortunately, on the day that the story was printed, Ricardo was abducted by Kimberley from Sumetha and Ricardo's home in Phuket, leaving all Ricardo's clothes and belongings behind. We believe she has taken Ricardo to the Dutch Embassy in either Phuket or Bangkok where she will request the necessary documents to remove Ricardo, a citizen of Thailand, from his family and home country. We do not understand on what basis the Dutch Embassy would grant such documents to Kimberley, unless Kimberley has produced documentation from the Netherlands indicating custody of Ricardo; if this is the case we would question the basis upon which Kimberley's documentation was obtained considering Ricardo's mother Sumetha was not consulted on Michael's decision to allow Kimberley to care for Ricardo.
It is obvious to anyone familiar with the story of Ricardo's life that Kimberley has acted in her own self-interests and without concern for Ricardo's future and well-being. Ricardo, upon his reunion with his mother Sumetha and his family in Thailand, was embarking on a bright and healthy future with many opportunities. He was living in a vibrant and secure island paradise, surrounded by a large, loving family and many new friends his own age. In addition, Ricardo was recently accepted by the British International School located in Phuket, which is one of the world's finest private schools; Ricardo is scheduled to begin classes on Monday, February 21. Kimberley witnessed Ricardo's happiness in being reunited with his family; she witnessed his new healthy and safe surroundings and knows how excited he is to begin classes at the British International School; however, without considering what is best for Ricardo, she has abducted him and is determined to return with him to her flat in the Netherlands.
If Kimberley manages to return with Ricardo to the Netherlands his life will be absent of the love of his mother and a large loving family, and the advantage of a superior education. We learned that Ricardo's life with Kimberley in the Netherlands was absent of family and friends, with only an occasional annual visit with his father Michael, and Michael's parents. Ricardo tells us that every day he would come home from school to an empty flat where he would await Kimberley's return from work. We understand from Ricardo that his greatest pleasure was sleeping with Kimberley every night. The fact that a nine year old boy sleeps with a 50-year old unmarried woman every night causes us great concern; we believe this is most unacceptable and severely damaging to Ricardo's psychological and emotional well-being, and have seen evidence as such.
Kimberley's abduction and intimate attachment to our child Ricardo is very disturbing. Kimberley has needs and desires; we realise that she is not well, being very lonely and living a life with no engaging prospects, and we also understand that Kimberley relies on the monthly National Child Benefit Payments she may share with Michael. However what is most important here is not the needs and desires of others, but only Ricardo's future and well-being, and it is this that his family in Phuket will eventually secure through the legal process. It is our hope to have Ricardo returned to Phuket so that he may begin classes at the British International School as scheduled.
Khun Prangtip also forwarded a letter she wrote to a Dutch journalist:
Here is the story of Ricardo from my perspective...
Ricardo's mother Sumetha is my niece; she is one of my sister's daughters. Our family maintains very close relationships and therefore Sumetha and I have been part of each other's lives since she was an infant.
Concerning my niece's relationship with Mike I recall, it was about nine years ago that Sumetha, six months pregnant at the time, came to Phuket with Mike (Ricardo's alleged "father"). They arrived in need of assistance, in need of a place to live and a job for Mike. At that time our family was involved in several business ventures that included the development and management of a resort property, restaurants and residential housing; these ventures were being managed by my brother, my husband and me.
To give Sumetha and Mike a place to live was easily accomplished, but finding a job for Mike was a challenge because all of our businesses had been established for some time and had experienced management personnel in place; there were no job positions readily available. However, due to the situation, we offered Mike a good salary plus profit-sharing as his compensation to manage the Pan Yaah restaurant, which we had opened a year earlier. It was actually my idea that Mike would manage the restaurant and raise the level of service up to the standards of the western countries. This was our goal because, although the restaurant was at that time and continues to be very popular, most of our clientele were tourists from all over the world (mostly from America and Western Europe) that had come to enjoy the beauty of Phuket and we wanted to serve them in a manner to which they were accustomed.
Mike's work schedule was very flexible and allowed him time to enjoy a very good lifestyle. During the day he would spend his time either playing golf (we had given him admittance to the Phuket Country Club) or sunbathing around one of our property's pools. At around six o'clock he would go to the Pan Yaah restaurant and have something to eat before beginning his management duties.
In the beginning it appeared like the arrangement was working well, he had thought of a couple of good ideas about how we could improve the restaurant's current service level and also ideas of how we could offer new and distinctive services to our customers. We respected him as the manager and allowed him the ability to make the day-to-day management decisions without our direct supervision, or interference.
After a couple of months on the job it became apparent that none of his ideas had been implemented and he was not conducting his daily duties as manager. Upon closer inspection we learned that Mike had been sitting at the restaurant's bar every night after dinner where he would order one drink after another until closing time. I discussed this behavior with him on several occasions, reminding him of his duties as manager and the negative impact this behavior was having on staff morale, and more importantly, how that will affect our service level which will cause the business to suffer; he seemed not to care and continued his nightly drinking at the bar.
Finally, with the situation getting more and more serious, I had to tell him that his behavior and attitude was quite unacceptable, and therefore we decided that he would be removed from his position as manager of the Pan Yaah restaurant. This decision did not affect our support of my niece and Mike; we continued to provide their room and board.
It was shortly after this incident and about one month before Ricardo was born, that my niece came to me to tell me that Mike would like to go back to Holland by himself and then she asked if I would give her the money to buy Mike's plane ticket and additional funds for her to give to him to support him until he finds work in Holland. This discussion prompted me to speak to Mike about his plans for the unborn child. At that time Mike told me that he is not even sure that the child is his and that if he were called upon to support the child he would request a DNA test to prove the claim that he was the child's father. It was with this in mind that he resisted placing his surname on Ricardo's certificate of birth.
Initially, I held back the financial support that would allow him to go back to Holland, hoping that the situation would change for the better, even hoping that Mike might change his attitude when the child was born, and possibly falling in love when he actually sees and holds the child. And yes, after Ricardo was born Mike's attitude did soften a little, and he may have even believed Ricardo was his child; however Mike was still determined to return to Holland alone and again failed to offer Sumetha the use of his last name for Ricardo's listing in the Thai House Registration of Birth.
At this point in time we were all very uncomfortable with the situation so we decided to give Mike the financial support that would allow him to go back to Holland. We gave him about 200,000 Thai baht to pay for the plane ticket and to support him until he found work, just as my niece had requested. I believe that what happened next is revealing of Mike's character: the day after we gave the money to Mike, the Thai Bank (the bank that Mike had went to convert the Baht to Guilders before leaving Thailand) called to request that we reimburse the bank for the converted Guilders that Mike had withdrawn because he, at the same time, withdrew the Baht from which the Guilders were to be converted. The Thai Bank said they had the security video recording that shows how Mike made the transactions simultaneously and ended up with both the Baht and the Guilders. Our legal counsel advised us to deny the bank's request to reimburse the funds. The bank had told us that if we did not reimburse the funds on Mike's behalf, they would file the appropriate reports and Mike would be blacklisted by the Immigration Bureau, which may explain Mike's reluctance to return to Thailand.
Shortly thereafter, Ricardo was born and our family continued to support and care for Sumetha and of course, her infant son Ricardo. Naturally at this time, Sumetha, still being in love with Mike, missed him and wished that she and Ricardo would be reunited with him and live as a traditional family. Sumetha and Mike had been corresponding with one another and Mike requested she and Ricardo come to Holland, and that he had a job waiting for her when she arrived. I suggested to Sumetha that she leave Ricardo with the family and go to Holland to rebuild her relationship with Mike and establish herself in her new job first, once that was accomplished she could then either come back to get Ricardo or we would bring him to her when she felt secure in her new life in Holland.
We were very concerned for her and the boy because he was an infant at the time and Sumetha had never lived in Holland before (she most recently lived and worked in France). Sumetha insisted that Mike had a job for her and she must bring Ricardo along so they can live together as a family. She asked if I could give her some money for her and Ricardo to travel to Holland, so I did.
After arriving in Holland, Sumetha's contact with the family became less and less frequent, until we rarely heard from her at all; it was about a year after she left that Sumetha called to tell us that the job in Holland was not steady enough to pay the bills and that she and Mike agreed that it would be easier for her to find a steady job in France, so she should go back to work in France and send him the money to pay the bills; since he had never found a job he would be able to stay at home and take care of Ricardo. And so it was done, Mike convinced Sumetha to return to France and work to support her new family, while he stayed in Holland and played ''daddy,'' or so it seemed.
We came to learn that although Sumetha had been sending money to Mike as they agreed (and she has proof of this), Mike had been corresponding with her less frequently and when they did make contact he was reluctant to have her speak to Ricardo. As it turned out, Mike had one new girlfriend after another; the first one was named Kimberly, followed by a second one, Debbie. In both instances Mike and his girlfriends applied for, and received child benefits from the Social Insurance Bank. It was now clear to Sumetha that Mike had tricked her into bringing Ricardo to Holland for the purpose of receiving welfare funds from the Dutch Government in the form of child benefits.
We know now that my niece was extremely distraught; many times she attempted to obtain legal counsel in France to regain custody of Ricardo by bringing the case to court in Holland; however being a single woman from another country made the process very difficult, and very expensive. Sumetha told us that she was very ashamed that she had been deceived by Mike and she was also ashamed of her decision not to take our advice, so much so, that she felt that she could not ask the family for financial assistance in this matter. During this time our family thought that she was fine and doing fairly well; we did not know that Mike had, at this point, legally abducted Ricardo and placed him with one girlfriend after another.
Sumetha had known one of these girlfriends, a Kimberly; Mike had been dating this Kimberly when he met Sumetha. When Sumetha learned that Mike had returned to Kimberly, taking Ricardo with him, she contacted Kimberly explaining to her that she, Sumetha, was Ricardo's mother. Sumetha told Kimberly about her relationship with Mike and how Mike had taken Ricardo from her and that she wanted her son returned as soon as possible. Kimberly was childless and did not want to give up her new ''son.''
Sumetha continued corresponding with Kimberly to get information about Ricardo's well-being. This went on for several years during which time Kimberly had been taking care of Ricardo and viewed him as her own son. Sumetha, however, was trying to impress upon Kimberly that she was Ricardo's biological mother, not Kimberly, and that Sumetha wanted very much to have Ricardo returned home.
During one of their conversations, Kimberly had told my niece that Mike had ''kidnapped'' Ricardo from school without telling her and gave Ricardo to his second girlfriend, Debbie, who was to take care of Ricardo, however soon after this Debbie had a child of her own, and according to Kimberly, Ricardo was being neglected. This information caused my niece great anguish concerning her son's future, and not knowing what else could be done (Kimberly resisted returning Ricardo to Sumetha), she reluctantly asked Kimberly for any assistance possible to secure the safety of Ricardo.
It was then that Kimberly filed documents with the Court to obtain legal custody of Ricardo, telling my niece that it would be temporary and in Ricardo's best interest because Mike will continue to abandon Ricardo with one girlfriend after another, possibly exposing Ricardo to great danger; it was this language that persuaded Sumetha to accept Kimberly's plan hoping that it would eventually lead to Ricardo's safe return home to her and the family.
The Court granted Kimberly's request, but initially only allowed Kimberly custody for a few days each month, on this point I am unclear. Eventually however, we learned that the Court had discovered that Mike was no longer cohabitating with his girlfriend Debbie (she had taken her daughter and moved out) and because Mike had no steady job and no visible means of support other than the child benefit payments, which were insufficient to pay the rent, it was only a matter of time before he and Ricardo would be homeless. We are told that it was because of this that the Court granted Kimberly full custody of Ricardo for one year, after which time the Court would reevaluate Mike's ability to care for Ricardo before determining if Mike could once again obtain some form of custody.
We were surprised that the Court would grant full custody to Kimberly, who was just a girlfriend of the ''acting'' father, and do so without the biological mother's consent. We suspect that when Mike had first taken Ricardo to Kimberly, they filed a petition to adopt Ricardo based on Mike's deceitful fabrication that Sumetha abandoned Ricardo. We are very interested to discover the basis upon which Mike proved to the Court that he was Ricardo's legitimate father.
It may seem to someone just learning of this situation that Sumetha and her family were not concerned with Ricardo's well-being until recently, but this is not true. For quite some time Sumetha attempted to resolve the situation on her own; Mike had been leading her on for years, telling her that they would eventually be together as a family. It is only recently that the family learned of her plight and it was decided to take action to recover our loved one Ricardo, and bring him home. We would ask the Court, how many mothers will Ricardo have if after one year the Court will allow Mike to have legal custody of the child?
Ricardo was born in Thailand, he is a citizen of Thailand and this is where his true family resides, a family that is extremely capable of caring for him and securing him a promising future. We do not want the child to grow up having a complicated and unsure future, we missed him dearly and we are so very happy to have him back home where he belongs.
Our family has been blessed with both good health and financial security; we are doing well enough to take care of both Sumetha and Ricardo. At this time Sumetha and her brother Pecko are partners in the popular Thai restaurant, the Thong Lor Cafe, that you may remember visiting during your stay in Phuket. As for Ricardo's future: we plan for him to graduate from the International High School in Thailand and then possibly continue his education at the university level in America.
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