Warrant out in Hmong rape, suicide case
Attacker-blackmailer sought after victim killed herself
The Lampang provincial court issued an arrest warrant Thursday for a former village head for allegedly raping and blackmailing a 22-year-old ethnic Hmong woman who died on Wednesday night following a suicide attempt on July 17.
After questioning several witnesses and compiling evidence, investigators submitted a plea to the court to approve the arrest warrant, said Pol Col Kraisit Phrompatima, chief of Muang district police.
A police summons previously issued for the suspect to report to investigators for questioning was cancelled upon the submission of a request for the arrest warrant, he said.
The woman was rushed to a hospital after she attempted to take her own life by downing insecticides. She was left distraught after several pictures and video clips of her being raped by the former village head, identified only as Noppadol, were sent to a Line instant-message group chat of her acquaintances as well as those of her family members, police said.
Atchariya Ruangrattanapong, head of a group set up to help victims of criminal cases, who has stepped in to assist the Hmong woman's family in their fight for justice, said the victim asked her father to pursue legal action against the suspect on her behalf before she died at the hospital on Wednesday night.
In a Facebook Live broadcast Thursday afternoon, Mr Atchariya and dead woman's twin sister revealed more information about what the victim wrote in her suicide note intended for her family.
In the note, she apologised to her parents for causing this embarrassment to the family, said the twin.
The victim also stressed that she wanted the former village head who had lied to her that he was single before luring her into a rental apartment in Lampang and raping her on July 14 to be arrested, the sister said. She said she wanted to keep the body of her sister until the suspect was detained by police and brought before the body to apologise.
Mr Atchariya said a check by his group into the suspect's background found Mr Noppadol had blackmailed several victims previously and was involved in an illegal business, which he did not identify.
Mr Noppadol acted alone in raping the Hmong woman. Previously, it was believed that three other men also raped the victim, which turned out to be false, said Mr Atchariya, adding that the three men had only met the victim after she was raped by the former village head.
The misunderstanding was blamed on difficulties the sister had in communicating with the victim after she drank insecticide and couldn't speak, he said.
The raped woman could only nod and give a number by raising her fingers in response to questions from her twin.
"While my sister was receiving treatment in hospital, the former village head contacted me via Facebook offering to give 30,000 baht, which I refused because I didn't know who he was at the time," said the victim's sister.
A source claimed the suspect has gone into hiding in a northeastern province.
The victim knew the suspect because he sold herbal medicines for pain relief on Facebook. The victim had purchased some medicines from him, said the same source.