'Cruel couple' face further questioning
- Published: 14/02/2013 at 12:20 PM
- Online news:
A couple released on bail after they were arrested for allegedly kidnapping a 12-year-old Karen girl and forcefully detaining her as a household servant for five years in Kamphaeng Phet province would face arrest warrants if they fail to appear for police questioning next week, the Provincial Police Region 6 commissioner said on Thursday.
Pol Lt Gen Wanchai Thanakij said investigators at Muang station summonsed 35-year-old engineer Nathee Dangoon, his 33-year-old wife and dog beauty salon owner Rattanakorn Piyaworatham for questioning next Monday, Feb 18.
Police would immediately seek warrants for the arrest of any of them who do not turn up, Pol Lt Gen Wanchai said.
Mr Nathee and Mrs Rattanakorn were accused of abducting the girl, whose name is not being revealed, when she was seven years-old from a farm in Kamphaeng Phet's Sai Ngarm district on May 20, 2008, and taking her to their house in Muang district in the upper-central province.
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Mr Nathee and Mrs Rattanakorn
The girl was allegedly enslaved there until she managed to escape from the house on Jan 31 this year. She received help from other residents who sent her to the Kamphaeng Phet Child and Family Emergency Home, from where she was taken to police.
The girl told police that she had lived with her parents, who worked on a sugarcane farm. The couple, who owned an adjacent farm, beckoned her into their car. As a young innocent child, she got into the vehicle and they took her awway to their house where they locked her up and forced her to work as their servant for five years.
The girl was treated brutally by her abductors, police said. She has severe burn scars caused by boiling water from her neck down and all over her torso. Part of her left ear had been cut off and there was physical evidence of trauma to her head and legs.
The girl said she was detained in a dog cage overnight and the couple splashed her with boiling water. They did not take her to hospital and only gave her saline water to treat the injuries by herself. The boiling water attack occurred about a year ago, said Pol Lt Gen Wanchai.
"For the past five years I was tortured and forced to do all the household work. If they were not satisfied they would beat me, and beat me harder when I cried, so I dared not cry for help.
"For the past five years it was like I was among the living dead in hell," the girl recalled of her ordeal.
"Three years ago, I managed to escape from the house and someone took me to the police, but the officer took me back to them again.
"They were really mad at me. They bashed my head against the wall and slapped my face with a shoe and used scissors to cut off my earlobe as punishment."
The pair have been charged with seven counts of aggravated assault with use of torture or cruel treatment; conspiracy to hold a person and cause serious injury to them; conspiracy to hold a person and require them to perform forced labour; conspiracy to hold a person in slavery or servitude; conspiracy to abduct or detain a child under the age of 15 occasioning serious injury; kidnapping a child; and conspiracy to commit human trafficking.
Pol Lt Gen Wanchai said investigators would press an additional charge of sheltering illegal migrants against the couple on Monday, in addition to the seven counts that carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
The suspects, who were arrested last Thursday, denied all charges and said they would testify in court. They were freed on bail after their lawyer offered 700,000 baht as collateral.
The victim's mother, who is now taking care of her long-lost daughter at the Child and Family Emergency Home, said she was so happy to see her again. She said her daughter had changed a lot and she wanted her abductors to be sent to prison for life.
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