Cops probe Koh Tao rape claim
Hostel owner urged Briton to file complaint
A hostel owner has said a 19-year-old British guest reported by UK media to have been raped on Koh Tao on the night of June 25 refused to report the incident to police on Surat Thani island despite being urged to do so.
Surat Thani police commander Apichart Boonsriroj said Pattara Jamtrakul, the 32-year-old owner of "The Hive" hostel, where the tourist stayed on the island, had advised the victim to report the crime to police, but the young Briton claimed she was hurrying to go to Koh Phangan to meet her boyfriend and other friends to attend a Full Moon party on the island.
The Sun newspaper reported that on Aug 23 the woman was drugged, stripped, robbed and subjected to a nightmare sex ordeal on Koh Tao, a popular tourist destination, especially among foreigners.
She fled to a neighbouring island before returning to Koh Tao to file a complaint with police, who she accused of refusing to investigate her rape allegation while noting only details of the robbery, according to the report.
Pol Maj Gen Apichart said the woman had booked the accommodation from June 21-23, but later asked to extend her stay there to June 26.
The woman stayed with four foreign male friends at the hostel, Pol Maj Gen Apichart said, quoting Ms Pattara.
Ms Pattara told police she arranged to meet the guest and her friends at the local Fish Bowl Bar at 11pm on June 25, but they failed to show up and she believed this group may have travelled elsewhere.
Ms Pattara said the guest told her the following morning that her drink had been spiked and she had been robbed and raped in an area called Laem Hin Jor Por Ror.
The hostel owner said she repeatedly asked the woman to report to police before leaving. Ms Pattara said she did not follow up on the issue after that as she was uncertain whether the offence really took place.
"On July 4, her friend, named Martin, came and asked me if he could lodge the [rape] complaint on behalf of the woman. I then took Mr Martin to Koh Tao police station, where officers said they were unable to receive the complaint as the woman was not present herself," said Ms Pattara.
She said the officers checked CCTV cameras installed close to the alleged attack location but it was too late as the footage from the days in question had already been recorded over.
On Monday, Pol Maj Gen Apichart led a team of police, army and local officers to Sairee Beach on Koh Tao where the alleged attack took place. He also visited Koh Phangan police station, where the tourist filed a complaint about a mobile phone and 3,000 baht in cash which she claimed was stolen on Sairee beach in tambon Koh Tao on June 25.
Pol Capt Krissada Thongsakul, deputy inspector of the station, said he told the woman she was unable to file the complaint at Koh Phangan police station as the case happened in a different jurisdiction.
He said the woman said she only wanted to lodge the complaint to seek an insurance payout for her lost valuables and that he decided help her out by making a record of her visit.
Pol Maj Gen Apichart said he has ordered a probe to ascertain whether the attack happened and, if it is found to be true, if the victim can be contacted to lodge a complaint so police can pursue the case.
"Investigators at Koh Phangan police station confirmed that a complaint was filed only about the lost valuables," said Pol Maj Gen Apichart, adding that Koh Phangan police superintendent Pol Col Sathit Kongnian has been assigned to set up a team to determine who the victim came to Koh Phangan with and what happened during her vistit to the station.
National police chief Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda said he would send Pol Maj Gen Surachate Hakparn, deputy commissioner of the Tourist Police Bureau, along with officers from the Office of Forensic Science, to visit the area today.
Tourism and Sports Minister Weerasak Kowsurat said he has asked senior military figures to help with the investigation.
"There appears to be some conflicting information in the case and people should wait for the results of the probe to come out first," he noted.
Koh Tao is one of Thailand's most popular tourist islands, especially among foreigners. However, it has become notorious after a spate of mysterious deaths and incidents of tourists going missing, which has sparked talk of mafia involvement.
However, Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwon insisted there are no longer any such criminal elements on Koh Tao as they have already been weeded out by authorities.