PATONG: Nationwide publicity about the kidnapped ‘beggar girl’ case has put the spotlight on Kathu Police Station’s finest. On December 14, Buri Ram native Huad Sooksaeng, 34, contacted Kathu police claiming that the begging girl, seven-year-old Kesorn, was her daughter, and that Kesorn had been kidnapped from her home in the northeast of Thailand three years ago. The police responded with a raid on begging gangs operating in Patong, netting five gang members and rescuing a boy of about six years of age. Public curiosity was later provoked when the former mother-in-law of Huad, Thaew Manpook, told the press that Kesorn was still living with her in Khon Kaen and had been since K. Huad left home to find work in Phuket three years ago. After blood testing did not provide any conclusive evidence on which girl – “Khon Kaen Kesorn” or “Phuket Kesorn” – is K. Huad’s daughter, Kathu police flew K. Huad and “Phuket Kesorn” to Bangkok on Christmas Day for DNA testing at the National Institute of Forensic Medicine. K. Huad and “Phuket Kesorn” are being provided accommodation by the Kathu Police for the two weeks it will take for the results to be returned. Pol Col Paween Pongsirin, superintendent of Kathu Police Station, told the Gazette yesterday that while public interest in the case is focused on which Kesorn is really K. Huad’s daughter, the police themselves are far more interested in putting an end to the gangs running child begging operations in Patong.