Fraud Committed to Kidnap Child
Shortly after a false declaration to paternity of Chanyut Chokjanphen
to the registrar's office of Deurne District of Antwerp, Belgium, the fraudster, Peter Vermeulen, and his wife, Thanomjit
Chokjanphen, who is the mother of Chanyut, separated permanently (they later officially divorced).
Thanomjit left Vermeulen to live with a local Laotian refugee, Phousith
Sibounloeang. She took Chanyut with her. The three lived together in Deurne District with a Thai friend from Samut Prakan
Province of Thailand and his pregnant Finnish wife. The landlord evicted them two weeks later for non-payment of rent.
Vermeulen's elder half-sister, Veerle Vermeulen, and her husband,
Denis Baelemans, kidnapped Chanyut from a public primary school, the Stedelijk Bassischool, on Confortelei 173
in northern Deurne District, with the complicity of the school principal, Jul Paenan.
Child Returned to his Mother, but Lived with other local Thais
Baelemans and Vermeulen, a childless and unemployed couple, could
not take proper care of a child and Chanyut eventually returned to his mother, but he lived also with other Belgian and Thai
families about Antwerp.
City Police Social Worker and Don Bosco Employees Conspired with Traffickers and Kidnappers
Eleven months after the fraudulent claim to parentage by Vermeulen,
Hilda Willems, a social worker for the juvenile division of the city police in Deurne District, told Chanyut's grandmother,
Boonchan Chokjanphen, that Thanomjit had deserted Vermeulen, eloped with a Thai boyfriend, and abandoned Chanyut. Willems claimed
that Thanomjit's whereabouts were unknown. Willems refused to say where Chanyut was. She claimed that Vermuelen
had legally adopted Chanyut by his declaration of paternity, that this gave him all legal rights to custody, and that he did
not want his estranged wife's family to contact the child.
Two months later, Boonchan learned that Chanyut was in
the Don Bosco boarding school in Wijnegem, a suburb of Antwerp.
A Don Bosco employee claimed that Chanyut had been adopted (an allusion
to Vermeulen's false claim to parentage) and that he had been put in the boarding school by the juvenile division of
the city police.
According to Don Bosco personnel later, in response to
an inquiry from the mayor of Wijnegem in 1998, the juvenile division of the city police of Antwerp put Chanyut in
the school, with the consent of the Thai embassy in Brussels, and that he attended free of charge.
Boonchan called Don Bosco many times in the following nine
months. Each time, the school's directors, Sister Hilde Mondelaers and Rene Vervecken, refused to let her speak to Chanyut
or give her details about him. They referred her to the juvenile division of the city police, where Willems refused to discuss
According to Baelemans, his family paid Chanyut's tuition to Don
The city police chief of Wignegem, Eddiw Gerrinckt, was wholly
uncooperative and deliberately obstructed a legal effort to trace the child.
State Police (Rijkswacht) Uncooperative
After delaying several months, the state police deferred to the
juvenile court of Antwerp.
Prosecuting Attorney Conspired with Kidnappers and Traffickers
The prosecuting attorney for Antwerp, Werner Van Walle, was wholly
uncooperative and deliberately tried to obstruct legal efforts to trace and contact the child.
Bishop Refused to Consider Matter
The Bishop of Antwerp, Paul Van Den Berghe, refused to respond to
requests for his intervention. (In an attempt to dissuade pursuit of the matter, the bishop's secretary, Jan Van Dooren, falsely
claimed that the bishop could not speak English.) Van Den Berghe insisted that only assistant prosecutors assigned to
the juvenile court could handle the matter. Van Den Berghe chose to ignore the fact that the prosecuting attorney's office
was uncooperative. He refused to consider the matter further.
Van Den Berghe appeared to have conflicts of interests in this matter.
He might have been trying to shield Don Bosco employees. Some believe that the Belgian clergy is rotten with pedophiles and
that Van Den Berghe feared antagonizing the prosecuting attorney's office.
Lawyers Cheated Family