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Phuket exit strategy: German youth to plead guilty

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PHUKET CITY: The German teenager arrested in Phuket in March on child sex charges will plead guilty when he appears in court next month, the Gazette has learned.

German Honorary Consul Dirk Naumann said the German mission has looked at the young man’s legal situation “from all angles”.

They now believe the Thai legal system does not permit someone in the young man’s circumstances to be considered a victim rather than a perpetrator, as previously hoped.

The teenager was just 17 when he was arrested on charges of sexually abusing minors along with his alleged co-conspirator, 43-year-old Dax Young of Britain.

The young man is alleged to have committed acts of abuse, on camera, with Thai boys as young as nine years old. The abuse allegedly occurred at Mr Young’s rented home in Patong.

Yet it is the German diplomatic mission’s belief that he was forced into the situation by dire family and financial circumstances as well as pressure from the older man.

For our previous reports on the story, click here and here.

Last month, Dr Hanns Schumacher, German ambassador to Thailand, told the Gazette, “We hope the young man will be considered a victim and not a perpetrator.”

“We now realize that the Thai legal system does not allow someone like him to be classified as a victim and set free. It can’t be done,” Mr Naumann told the Gazette today.

When the young man appeared at Phuket Juvenile and Family Court on Tuesday the judge decided to postpone the hearing until July 27.

Mr Naumann attended the Tuesday hearing and spoke with the young man. “He is in good spirits. We told him the Thai authorities and the Thai judiciary have been most understanding about our view of the situation. We also told him there’s no other way but to plead guilty, and he agreed to plead guilty,” he said.

The German mission now hopes the young man will receive a suspended sentence from the judge and be immediately deported to Germany.

He would be banned from returning to Thailand.

Mr Naumann said he hoped the German prosecution office would then launch a new investigation into the young man’s alleged crimes.

“We hope they will look on the case based on our law, which allows a child like him to be judged a victim rather than a perpetrator,” he said.

Mr Naumann said it was important that the case be re-opened in Germany. “Otherwise he is a criminal for the rest of his life, he’s a pedophile.”

If the German prosecution office finds the young man innocent, “they then have the option to advise the Thais of their findings. The Thai authorities may then lift his travel ban. But nothing is certain; the judiciary in Thailand is independent, as is the German judiciary,” he said.

— Dan Waites

 

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