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