Phuket Police doubt British woman’s rape allegation

PHUKET: CCTV images and other evidence have cast doubt over a British woman’s claim that she was raped at knifepoint by a Phuket tuk-tuk driver, Phuket Police say.

The 21-year-old woman reported the alleged assault to Cherng Talay Police on Tuesday.

The woman said she hired a tuk-tuk in Patong to take her back to her room at a resort in the Laguna resort complex in Cherng Talay, but was instead taken by the driver and his companion to Tri Trang Beach at the south of Patong Bay, where she was robbed and raped, she said

The case has been transferred to Patong Police, where superintendent Arayapan Pukbuakao said CCTV images and other evidence gave reason to doubt that the assault was perpetrated by a tuk-tuk driver.

The images recorded that evening showed the woman leaving central Patong on a motorbike with a Caucasian man, Col Arayapan said.

Patong Police are investigating the case, but have not questioned any tuk-tuk drivers, he said.

If a rape did take place it was probably not perpetrated by a tuk-tuk driver, he said.

The tuk-tuk driver who returned the woman to the resort, initially questioned by Cherng Talay Police, has denied any involvement.

A Cherng Talay Police investigator who asked that his name be withheld told the Gazette: “Our investigation started with the hotel security guard who records vehicles entering and leaving the resort. We found out that a tuk-tuk driver sent her back to the hotel at around 5am.”

The woman had abrasions and other wounds to her thighs and legs, he confirmed.

“We suspected the tuk-tuk driver was involved until we checked CCTV footage and found that he lived in Phuket Town,” he said.

The driver, called in for questioning at Cherng Talay Police Station, denied any involvement.

“He said he didn’t do anything to her. He found her in the Tri Trang Beach area, then brought her to the Patong Police box on the beach road, across from Soi Bangla. Patong Police tried to question her at that time, but she was unintelligible so police advised her to get some rest then come back in for questioning later,” he said.

“After waking the following morning she suffered some internal pain and wanted to go to hospital, but she didn’t know the way. So she came to Cherng Talay Police Station, where she reported that she was raped by two tuk-tuk drivers, one fat and one thin,” he said.

“Our investigation revealed that she and a [female] friend went to Seduction [nightclub] and then separated, each going with a different foreign [Caucasian] man,” he said.

Patong Police have not yet identified the foreigner, he said.

“At that time she was really drunk, so it is not sure whether she remembered the event or not. Her body had some scratches, probably sustained when running away from something,” said the officer.

The victim was taken to Thalang Hospital for examination, but it will take a month for the results to confirm whether or not she was raped, he said.

As the alleged assault took place in Patong, the case was subsequently transferred to the Patong Police, he said.

“Patong Police superintendent Arayapan Pukbuakao told us they were unable to find the tuk-tuk driver she has accused,” he said.

Staff at the resort where the woman was staying said the woman has left to stay at a different hotel.

She was scheduled to leave Phuket on Friday, but now plans to stay on the island in search of justice, he quoted resort staff as saying.

The woman has been provided with consular assistance throughout the ordeal, a source in the British diplomatic mission in Thailand has confirmed.

— Atchaa Khamlo

Phuket News

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Legacy Phuket Gazette

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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