Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Tortured girl smiles; Curfews possible; Kissing Stevie G


– Thailand news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Tortured slave girl learns to smile again
Phuket Gazette / The Nation

PHUKET: Sympathy and support is pouring in for a Karen girl who was allegedly kidnapped, enslaved, tortured and scarred over half of her body by a couple in Kamphaeng Phet.

Her alleged attackers, Natee Taeng-orn and Rattanakorn Piyaworatham, have denied any wrongdoing and been released on bail. According to neighbors, the couple has not been seen in their neighborhood since February 7.

The young victim told police that for about five years she had to do housework without any pay and help Rattanakorn with bathing dogs at her shop. When the girl made a mistake, she was locked up in a cage and hot water was poured on her.

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Since being released, the 12-year-old victim has appeared in front of many news cameras. Her scars have attracted overwhelming public sympathy. But officials have cautioned against showing her scantily clothed body to the public because that could constitute a violation of her human rights.

“Having her wear only underpants while photos and videos were being taken could cause pressure and traumatize her [further],” Sanphasit Koompraphant, a children’s rights activist, said.

“Doing so is considered against norms for child victims and witnesses under the protection of the United Nations.”

But by yesterday, officials at the Kamphaeng Phet Home for Children and Families said the girl had started to smile again.

“At first, she was depressed, shaken and quiet,” an official said.

Deputy Kamphaeng Phet Governor Watcharin Thongsakul yesterday brought doctors to the girl. An initial examination showed more than half of her skin surface sustained damages. In some parts, the damage had reached bone level.

“We will provide treatment for her. If necessary, we will also refer her to a more specialized medical facility,” Kamphaeng Phet Hospital’s director Kamchai Rangsimanpaiboon said.

The Kamphaeng Phet Home for Children and Families said the Rotary Club of Bangkok’s Klong Toei had offered to pay for the treatment too.

Kamchai also disclosed that several foundations had stepped forward to help the young girl.

“We will ensure that she gets protection and rehabilitation,” he said.

He added that his provincial authority would also work on the prosecution of her attackers.

Kamchai said the suspects would face an additional charge of violating the 1998 Labour Protection Act. They have already been charged with assault and illegal detention.

Labour Protection and Welfare Department director-general Pakorn Amorncheewin said if convicted of using child labor, the couple would face a maximum fine of Bt200,000 and up to one year in jail. He said the couple could also be required to pay the girl for the work she had done for them over the past five years.

Chalerm: Curfews possible in ‘problematic’ areas in South
Phuket Gazette / The Nation

PHUKET: The government might impose curfews in “problematic” areas in the South, Deputy PM Chalerm Yoobam-rung said yesterday, while Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra instructed officials to separate criminal activity from insurgent acts and equip officials with the latest technology and safety equipment.

Citing his recent meeting with Malaysian PM Najib Razak, Chalerm said both countries we opposed to separatism.
“We did everything but if things aren’t improved, we might impose curfews in some problematic sub-districts or districts,” Chalerm said. “I think it’s inevitable … if in some areas the authorities can’t thoroughly cover, there’s a necessity, hence [curfew] is a choice we are considering.”

A decision on curfews will be made in a meeting of the Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre (SBPAC) on Friday.

The Cabinet yesterday approved 900 of the proposed 2,700 territorial volunteer defence positions to increase security forces in the South.

Yingluck urged the Interior Ministry to draw up plans to fill the remaining 1,800 positions and more.

In the investigation of Sunday’s car bombing that killed five soldiers in Yala’s Raman district, authorities said a 16-year-old male suspect who allegedly planted road spikes to help the bombers gave useful testimony. It led to the discovery of a garage in Pattani’s Kapho district where the bombing was planned and the car was painted. Four other male suspects were detained for questioning.

Meanwhile yesterday, Corporal Suthas Waemayi, 32, was seriously wounded in a shooting in Narathiwat’s Rangae district at 1.30pm.

Suthas was talking to villager Marosuli Thoh in front of Marosuli’s house in Tambon Bongo, when men hiding in the bushes shot Suthas once in the back of the neck with a handgun.

In Pattani, police announced that Maruding Yusoh, 25, who was killed in a raid on Monday, was an operative insurgent. A 9mm pistol in Maruding’s possession yielded evidence linked to 10 other attacks.

Three of his friends, aged 18 to 29, were suspected to be sympathizers of the Ronda Kumpulan Kecil (RKK) insurgency movement and were under investigation.

Stealing a kiss from Stevie G among precious memories for Thai fans
Phuket Gazette / The Nation

PHUKET: Liverpool manager Brendan Rogers will want to quickly forget Monday’s 2-0 defeat at Anfield to West Bromwich Albion, but for 16 Reds fans from Thailand memories of the day will last a lifetime.

The Thai Kopites were on the same AP Honda-sponsored trip as their 20 Manchester United-supporting counterparts who watched a 2-0 home victory over Everton on Sunday, but none had any complaints about what they experienced at the Merseyside club’s atmospheric ground.

Rather than disappointment at the Reds’ failure to avenge their 3-0 loss at the Hawthorns on the opening day of the season, all 16 left the stadium pumped with renewed enthusiasm from their visit to the famed Anfield on a bitterly cold night.

The result dropped Liverpool to ninth in the EPL standings, but the Thais had good reason to be on a high. The day started with an opportunity Liverpool fans around the world would give their right arm for – AP Honda arranged a meet & greet with Reds captain Steven Gerrard at the club’s Melwood training ground.

Their Red Devils counterparts may have met 11 Manchester United first-team players, but none are symbolically representative of their whole club in the same way as Gerrard.

Each fan savored every second of their brief time with Stevie G, who lifted the club’s fifth European Cup in Istanbul eight years ago following a miraculous comeback from 3-0 down at half-time that saw them beat AC Milan on penalties.

A female Liverpool fan from Sukhothai made the most of the opportunity by kissing Gerrard on the cheek as the England skipper was about to autograph a shirt she presented him.

A few hours later, the smiles gave way to goose bumps as the Anfield crowd struck up a stirring chorus of “You’ll never walk alone” before kick-off.

One player the Thai group was eager to see was new signing Coutinho, set to make his debut after joining Liverpool from Inter Milan during the January transfer window.

The Brazilian midfielder seemed to have brought good fortune as he arrived on the scene as a

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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