Ev­i­dence about Koh Tao al­leged rape doesn’t add up, says chief in­ves­ti­ga­tor

The Nation - - AROUND THAILAND -

The chief in­ves­ti­ga­tor in a rape claim made by a Bri­tish woman who vis­ited Koh Tao is­land in­sisted yes­ter­day that her al­le­ga­tion seemed im­plau­si­ble.

The 19-year-old Lon­doner had claimed that the at­tack on June 25 took place near a rock on a beach where she was drink­ing with friends.

She also claimed that she had slipped into un­con­scious­ness af­ter her drinks were drugged. The rock was said to be about 300 me­tres from a bar.

How­ever, the deputy chief of the tourist po­lice, Pol Maj-Gen­eral Su­ra­chet Hak­parn, said her ac­count seemed un­likely, based on foren­sic ev­i­dence and wit­ness state­ments.

Su­ra­chet said the tide that day was high due to a full moon.

The site where the woman claimed to have been at­tacked was there­fore cov­ered by water, in con­tra­dic­tion to her claim of hav­ing been drink­ing with friends there, he said.

More­over the beach where the at­tack was al­leged to have hap­pened was crowded with tourists and peo­ple who had gone to watch a live broad­cast of a World Cup foot­ball match.

“There­fore, it seems that the al­leged rape could not have taken place as claimed,” Su­ra­chet said.

“If she ac­tu­ally been drink­ing there, she and her friends would have had to walk through the water to that rock and would cer­tainly have been spot­ted by those who were there to watch a foot­ball match of the World Cup.”

Be­cause of the large crowd gath­ered to watch the match, a large num­ber of po­lice and sol­diers had been de­ployed to pro­vide se­cu­rity there, he said. “This made the rape highly un­likely to have hap­pened.”

Su­ra­chet was speak­ing to re­porters af­ter meet­ing with a diplo­mat from the UK em­bassy in Bangkok, dur­ing which he handed over a re­port of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

He was the chief in­ves­ti­ga­tor of a panel set up to look into the claim and had vis­ited Koh Tao to col­lect ev­i­dence and in­ter­view wit­nesses about the al­le­ga­tion.

The em­bassy, he said, had told him that it would co­or­di­nate with the woman to try to find the clothes she had worn that day, and would seek per­mis­sion from the UK po­lice to pass on the in­for­ma­tion to their Thai coun­ter­parts.

The al­leged rape came to light af­ter the woman’s mother told UK me­dia that her daugh­ter had been drugged, robbed and raped dur­ing her va­ca­tion on Koh Tao.

She said her daugh­ter had filed a com­plaint with UK po­lice and given them clothes con­tain­ing the DNA of her at­tack­ers, be­cause Thai po­lice re­fused to doc­u­ment her rape claim.

It is still un­clear why the woman said she went to Koh Pha-ngan to file the com­plaints, when the at­tack was al­leged to have oc­curred on nearby Koh Tao. Koh Pha-ngan po­lice in­sist that she re­ported a rob­bery and the loss of her be­long­ings, not a rape.

Thai po­lice have said they will is­sue a sum­mons for the woman to re­turn to Thai­land to file an of­fi­cial com­plaint and ex­plain the events of June 25. The statute of lim­i­ta­tions ex­pires on Septem­ber 25 un­der Thai law.

Su­ra­chet added that po­lice would is­sue an ar­rest war­rant for the ad­min­is­tra­tor of a Face­book page that posted false in­for­ma­tion about the al­leged at­tack and thus tar­nished Thai­land’s rep­u­ta­tion. Those who shared the false in­for­ma­tion would also face le­gal ac­tion.

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