A policewoman whose alleged abuse of her soldier-maid made headlines three months ago, and her boyfriend, have been arraigned in court on charges including human trafficking.
The alleged victim, a former soldier who has not been named, and her lawyer, Rose Angsawee, were at Ratchaburi Provincial Court when Pol Cpl Kornsasi Buayaem, 43, was arraigned for the alleged assault and torture of her former maid on Thursday.
The accused woman is being detained at Ratchaburi Central Prison. She attended the hearing online.
She and her boyfriend Khomsit Janphanit were indicted on seven counts - human trafficking, violation of the Labour Act, illegal possession of weapons, depriving the victim of her liberty, assault, forced labour and collusion in physical abuse causing bodily harm.
Pol Cpl Kornsasi, 43, of the Special Branch Bureau, reported to police in Muang district of Ratchaburi on Aug 20 after her 30-year-old former employee told reporters she had been detained, physically abused and mistreated by her boss before finally managing to flee.
Mr Khomsit surrendered to Cha-am police in Phetchaburi province on Aug 25 to acknowledge an initial charge of colluding in physical abuse.
Lawyer Rose said the most serious charge against Pol Cpl Kornsasi and her boyfriend was human trafficking, an offence liable to life imprisonment. The defendant denied all charges, as was her right, she said, adding that her client also had the right to sue for damages .
The former maid said nobody had contacted her about giving compensation. She still felt unsafe but had faith in the justice process and had firm evidence against her boss and the co-accused. She said the injuries she suffered to her body had almost completed healed except for her nose, which had been broken. She could breathe only through one nostril.
The torture allegations were first exposed by the Hone Krasae programme on TV Channel 3 in August. The victim alleged Pol Cpl Kornsasi had burned her with a hair curler and hit her with a metal rod, causing nose and head injuries. She also alleged her employer once splashed alcohol on her head and set her hair on fire. The victim said her boss claimed she was the wife of a senator.
Later, senator Thani Onlahiad admitted to a previous close relationship with the accused policewoman.
The 69-year-old senator was called to testify before a House commitee over the matter and said in a statement he and the accused woman had lost contact a long time before. He had learned only from news reports that she had a relationship with another man, her co-accused.