Thai police set to nab two more in gang rape of single mother

CCTV footage showing the unconscious woman being carried out of the pub by the men.
CCTV footage showing the unconscious woman being carried out of the pub by the men.PHOTO: THE NATIONS/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

BANGKOK • Police in Chanthaburi, Thailand, are poised to arrest two more suspects in the May 26 abduction and gang rape of a 21-year-old woman who was then left for dead.

Makham superintendent Police Colonel Chettha Keesawan said on Monday that investigators noticed two additional suspects in CCTV camera recordings, supporting testimony from witnesses that there may have been more people involved than the four suspects who are already in custody.

The victim, a single mother who raised two young children on her own by selling cosmetics online, was at the Orbit Pub in Muang Chanthaburi with three female friends but then vanished. The friends assumed that she had left for home.

However, a CCTV camera recording, which has been widely shared on social media, showed four men carrying the unconscious victim out of the pub and placing her in the back of a pickup truck that then sped away.

The woman was found dead the next morning at a construction site 40km away.

Police swiftly arrested Natthapong Saenkla, 24, Patthawee Boontham, 23, Surasit Jaikhammee, also 23, and an 18-year-old man whose name was withheld because of his age.

Three of them confessed to rape, while Surasit said he was present but did not take part in the act.

The victim's family believe she must have been drugged or plied with alcohol and unable to resist being abducted. They vowed to wait until the case is solved before collecting her body from Phra Pokklao Chanthaburi Hospital's morgue for religious rites.

The nightclub owner could be charged with allowing people under the age of 20 on the premises, since the 18-year-old suspect was among his patrons. If the post-mortem on the victim turns up any illegal substance, the owner could also be charged with allowing patrons to take illicit drugs.

THE NATION/ ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 06, 2018, with the headline 'Thai police set to nab two more in gang rape of single mother'. Print Edition | Subscribe