TWO Thai nationals held captive in the port city of Rongcheng for almost three months were yesterday released into the care of a Thailand Embassy official. The embassy received a call from the consular department of the Foreign Ministry late on Friday, saying Kasem Leelayuwapan and his 67-year-old mother Chantra were to be released by their captors, the Rongcheng Deep Sea Fisheries Company, without precondition. The company had been demanding US$2 million (HK$15.46 million) from the couple in a long-running dispute involving the lease of six fishing vessels. A senior consular official from the Thai Embassy was dispatched to Rongcheng to pick up the couple and escort them back to Beijing, from where they are expected to fly to Bangkok. An embassy official said the row had been resolved and he did not expect any legal action. The Foreign Ministry's consular department had only three days previously told the Thai Embassy the dispute would be very difficult to resolve, because of two parties' conflicting claims. But it appears once the ministry realised the international media was interested, it stepped up pressure on the Rongcheng company to release them. 'It seems the Foreign Ministry realised the potential damage this incident could do to China's image abroad and decided to bring all the pressure it could to bare on this company,' a diplomat said.