Cops still untangling gang-rape claim case

Police inspect a shack in Koh Raet Village of Phangnga’s Takua Thung district on Wednesday where a 14-year-old girl said she was sexually abused. (Photo by Achadtaya Chuenniran)

A 17-year-old girl said to have been gang-raped along with a 14-year-old girl, who earlier caught media attention by revealing she was sexually abused by 40 men in Phangnga, has denied she was assaulted.

The older teen, known as “C”, was taken for questioning on Tuesday after the younger girl, known as “B”, told police that C was raped in a shack along with her.

The attack was said to have been carried out in Koh Raet village in tambon Lo-yung of Takua Thung district in December last year.

B told police 11 men took part in the rapes.

Upon police questioning, C said she had never been raped as claimed by B, adding she did not believe B was gang-raped.

C said B’s family members always kept to themselves and B was not permitted to play with other friends in the village. She said B “appears to be repressed” and does not socialise with others.

“I want to call for justice for senior figures in the village accused of being rapists,” C said. “This story was fabricated by ill-intentioned people who want to damage the village’s reputation.”

Meanwhile, mental health officers were yesterday sent to offer support to locals said to have been traumatised by the news. The villagers said they had encountered unfavourable responses from outsiders.

Director of the Southern Institute of Child and Adolescent Mental health, Hataichonnanee Booncharoen, said the villagers had developed mental problems, ranging from tenseness, anxiety, and insomnia, and some wanting to commit suicide, in the wake of the news.

Three suspects have been arrested and indicted for rape. They were later released on bail.

Phangnga police commander Boonthawee Toraksa yesterday led a team to check a shack close to the village’s pier that B claimed was the scene of the alleged crime.

However, police did not believe an attack took place at the site.

Another shack was found close to the pier, but it was built four months ago, so police said it was not possible to have been the scene of the alleged attack.

Pol Col Boonthawee said officers sought warrants for the arrest of another 17 suspects, but Phangnga Provincial Court rejected them, saying more evidence is needed.

The girl and her family has been taken to a house in Takua Pa district, where security was provided for them, he said.

Deputy police spokesman Kritsana Pattanacharoen said yesterday officers will question the girl’s stepfather and people close to her family to find out whether they were linked to the crime.

Officers are searching for more evidence to determine whether the case could be linked to human trafficking, he said, adding if that is the case, related charges would be brought against the offenders.

Chanon Abdullah, from the Muslim for Peace Foundation’s Phuket branch, which offered legal assistance and other necessities to B and her mother, said the three suspects persuaded other men in the village to assault the alleged victim.

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