Inspired by actual events, Mango
Rains is the incredible story of a
woman who overcame insurmountable
odds while searching for her
abducted child. She devoted her life
to the impossible task of navigating
through a web of deceit,
exploitation, and the criminal
underworld to drag herself out of
obscene circumstances into a better
life, and to use her status, and
incredible luck, to eventually
realize her dreams. This, paralleled
with the story of her abducted
daughter who was forced to endure
heartbreaking tragedies, and
experience occasional triumph, often
bittersweet, whilst finding her way
alone through a similar web of
deceit, exploitation, and the
criminal underworld, giving the
reader an unparalleled look at the
hidden world where children
disappear without a trace in Asia.
At times this book will bring you to
tears, both tears of tragedy and
tears of triumph. This is a story of
love and inspiration, a story of how
a mother never gave up hope of
finding the daughter she lost.
Lek waited for what seemed like an eternity for the woman to stop
pounding on her door. Several times she nearly gave in to the
temptation to find out who it was, but was able to restrain herself.
Finally the pounding stopped and for the next few minutes there was
a deafening silence. The stranger was obviously listening for
Lek remained frozen to her bed, listening intently to any signs that
the stranger was still waiting outside her room. The silent standoff
lasted another few minutes before Lek heard the distinct sound of
footsteps walking away from her room.
It was so quiet that Lek thought she could hear the footsteps all
the way down the three flights of stairs and out into the parking
lot. Still, she didn’t dare move.
What if there was someone else outside the door, waiting for her?
That was a chance she’d have to take. She couldn’t stay hidden in
her room all day. Soonton was waiting for her in the cafe downstairs
and if there was someone waiting for her outside, she figured at
worst she could make it that far. Soonton would know what to do.
Examining every corner along the way, Lek stealthily made her way
over to the cafe.
“Where have you been? Do you realize how dangerous it is for us to
be here?” Soonton snapped.
“I’m sorry. Someone came to my room looking for me. I had to make
sure they were gone.”
“Who was it?” The tone of Soonton’s voice changed from anger to
“I don’t know. I didn’t open the door. I think it was a woman but I
didn’t recognize her voice,” said Lek.
“They’ve found us. We have to get out of here, now!”
Soonton rose from the table and made his way toward the exit.
Stopping to survey the parking lot, he waved Lek over to join him.
Seeing nothing threatening, he led Lek across the parking lot toward
a car he had parked near the exit.
Lek snuck a glance into the office on her way by. Prasit was busy
talking with a woman inside. Was that the woman who knocked on her
door? Lek didn’t recognize her.
Nid paced Prasit’s office, grilling him for information. “If she’s
not in her room, where might she be?”
“I’m don’t know,” Prasit replied. “I can’t imagine she would go
anywhere. Except maybe the cafe downstairs. Did you check there?”
“No, I just checked her room.”
Both she and Prasit looked over toward the cafe at the same time.
The early afternoon sun brightly lit the inside of the cafe allowing
the two observers a clear view. A few customers were scattered
about, quietly eating and talking amongst themselves. Not one of
them even vaguely resembled Lek.
As Nid and Prasit returned their attention to each other, movement
in the parking lot behind Nid’s back caught Prasit’s eye. “Hey,
wait. That’s her over there.”
“Where?” Nid yelled, quickly spinning around to see what Prasit was
“There, across the parking lot.” Prasit pointed toward Lek and
Soonton. They appeared to be trying to make it across the lot
Nid bolted out the door after them, knocking over a chair on her
way. “Lek! Wait! Stop!”
“That must be the woman who knocked on my door!” Lek said,
“Let’s go! Quick.” Soonton grabbed her and pushed her into the car
in front of him. The keys were already in the ignition and it only
took a split second for the engine to come to life.
“Lek! Wait! I’m your mother! Come back!” Nid screamed.
“What is she saying?” Lek asked Soonton.
“I don’t know and I don’t care,” Soonton replied as he floored the
accelerator. The tires spun as the car lurched out of the parking
lot and into the street.
“Lek! Wait!” Nid continued to scream as she ran after them. The car
was too fast, Nid didn’t have a chance. Out of breath, Nid leaned on
a light pole and watched as her daughter rounded a corner and
disappeared from sight.
Nid didn’t even notice the two police cars that pulled into the
parking lot behind her, but she sure noticed them as they screeched
out of the parking lot to give chase to Soonton and Lek.
“They’re going after them,” Prasit called to her. “Come on, we can
take my car and follow them.”
Nid didn’t hesitate. As they pulled out into the street, Prasit
handed Nid a small radio. “Turn this on,” he instructed her. “It’s a
police band radio. We won’t be able to go as fast as them but we can
keep track of where they are going. Hopefully we won’t be too far
behind when they catch up with them.”
Nid did as instructed and tried to understand the muffled words that
came through the radio. Prasit seemed to know exactly what they were
talking about and deftly steered the car down side streets and
toward the west end of town.
“They’re going to try and head them off before they get into the
countryside where there are hundreds of little dirt roads they could
use to escape,” he translated.
Escape. The thought sent chills down Nid’s back. She’d never been
this close, ever. She secretly hoped they could avoid the police,
yet somehow get hung up so that Nid could get to them first. Why was
“Finally, we’re creating some separation,” Soonton said after
sustaining ludicrously high speeds through city streets, busting
through intersections, narrowly missing pedestrians and other
Now out of the city limits and onto open road, the old car was being
pushed to its limits. Here’s our chance, he thought. The police are
still trying to navigate the city streets and will be held back by
any carnage we caused getting to open road. Aaaah!
He used a little too much speed on a tight corner. When the wheels
were no longer able to maintain their grip, the car began to slide
Trying to regain control, he turned too hard on the steering wheel,
and shot across the road to other side. Another correction put him
back onto the pavement, but by now all hopes of controlling the
uncontrollable sent the car careening sideways into the ditch. With
a horrifying thump, the car hit a large boulder, sending Soonton
head first into the windshield, killing him instantly and sending
the car flipping into the air. The centrifugal force pushing Lek
against the passenger door was too much for the latch. When it gave
way, Lek was flung out, cart-wheeling through the air, landing in
thick underbrush. When the car bounced off the ground and made
another terrifying revolution in the air, the passenger door broke
loose completely, sending it flying into the tapioca field on the
other side of the road, 50 meters away.
The sickening sound of metal, glass, tarmac and gravel mashing
together lasted only a few seconds, but seemed to last forever. Then
there was silence.