The man who orchestrated the kidnapping of an Auckland mother of three using the Head Hunters’ hit squad is appealing his manslaughter conviction.
Seng Lek Liev was sentenced to 12 years and four months’ imprisonment for the kidnapping and manslaughter of Jindarat Prutsiriporn.
The Thai woman was held hostage for 22 hours during late February and early March 2016.
While being transported in the boot of a car she was able to pry open the hatch and flung herself onto the road in a desperate bid to escape.
But she hit her head and died in hospital two days later.
Today, in the Court of Appeal, Liev sought to overturn his manslaughter conviction and sentence.
He did not appeal his kidnapping conviction and accepted his lead role in the plot.
Following a 10-week trial in 2017, the Herald revealed extensive details of Liev’s scheme to kidnap the 50-year-old woman.
The case also provided an insight into Auckland’s organised criminal underworld.
Liev, a slightly built Cambodian man known as Cambo Jack, had hired the Head Hunters’ “ghost unit” to kidnap Prutsiriporn.
The Crown’s case against Liev, who was on bail for violent offending at the time, was that the kidnapping was the result of bad blood between the pair over money and drugs.
The former Napier woman, affectionately known as Nui, was involved in the criminal world and had been jailed for importing methamphetamine.
She was also on active charges at the time of her death.
An earlier attempt to kidnap Prutsiriporn was aborted after members of the ghost unit were disturbed by police patrolling nearby.
When Prutsiriporn was taken, on the evening of February 29, 2016, it came under the guise of a drug deal.
During her captivity, she was held without food or water, at times bound in the backs and boots of cars, and shifted to several properties around Auckland.
When Liev was sentenced by Justice Matthew Palmer in September 2017, he asked the judge in a letter for forgiveness.
Liev described the kidnapping as an “outrageous incident”.
Eleven people were arrested following her death and six went to trial in May 2017, facing manslaughter and kidnapping charges, the rest earlier pleading guilty to their parts.
The case also revealed the ghost unit had a source working for Vehicle Testing New Zealand, who provided the gang with the name and address of a police informant.