PHUKET TOWN: Instead of enjoying her holiday during the island’s Vegetarian Festival, a tourist from Scotland ended up being raped on Tuesday night. The victim, 22-year-old Dawn Farmer, told police that she was raped by a man wearing the traditional white clothing popular with celebrants during the chaotic festival. The white clothing is associated with the festival’s undertone of purity, moral behavior, and sexual abstinence. Capt Nakorn Sangthong of the Tourist Police told the Gazette that Ms Farmer arrived in Phuket with her boyfriend on October 1 and checked into the Suksabai Hotel on Thepkrasattri Rd in Phuket Town because they wanted to see Phuket’s famous festival. As her boyfriend was feeling ill, Ms Farmer decided to leave the hotel by herself in the early evening to take a walk and check out the fire-walking ceremony held at Jui Tui Shrine on Ranong Rd. “She was by herself until 10:30 pm and got lost on her way back to the hotel. A Thai man came by on a motorcycle and offered help,” said Capt Nakorn. Ms Farmer told police that she thought the man was a motorcycle taxi driver, so she decided to get on the bike and asked him to take her to the hotel. Instead, however, the man took her to a dark corner in a Chinese cemetery in Baan Laem Chan on Sakdidej Rd. Capt Nakorn told the Gazette, “It was difficult for us to locate where the rape took place because it was raining really hard and the victim saw almost nothing along the way. “She defended herself, but the man forced her to take off her clothes. He punched her on the chin once and then several times in the stomach before raping her.” As the man prepared to leave, the victim begged him to take her to a place with lights or access to a street, but he refused. About 20 minutes later, Ms Farmer found her way out of the cemetery. A middle-aged Thai couple saw her and took her to the Tourist Police, who in turn took her to Wachira Phuket Hospital for medical treatment. Pol Lt Col Wichai Boonruen, an inspector with the Tourist Police, said, “Because of the rain and the darkness, the victim remembered hardly anything that would identify the man. “Fortunately, after going over the crime scene, we found her underwear with his fingerprints on it. We also found what may possibly be some of his hair on the ground, as Ms Farmer told us that she pulled his hair a couple of times while they were struggling.” Ms Farmer said at Muang District Police Station that she could not believe that such a terrible incident could happen to her in the midst of a religious festival. She also said, “I had planned to stay longer, but I don’t think so now – and I’m definitely never going to come back either.” “It’s such a shame that it happened during the festival. We must arrest the perpetrator,” said Pol Col Chalit Thinthanee, Superintendent of Muang District Police Station. “I am very confident that we will be able to do this with the evidence that has been sent to the Phuket Forensic Science Office.” Police later arrested two men aged 20 and 25, whose appearances and motorbikes matched the descriptions given by the victim. “But Ms Farmer confirmed that neither man was the one who raped her,” Lt Col Wichai said.
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