NAKHON RATCHASIMA: A 16-year-old student who was gang-raped by four men tried to take her own life by running in front of a train at a railway crossing but was safely rescued.
The girl was said to have been in severe distress because the four suspects, aged 20-27, were free on bail and their relatives were continuing to intimidate her and her family.
On Tuesday night, the girl tried to commit suicide by running towards a railway crossing and into the path of a train in Muang district. Passersby saw the incident and managed to pull her to safety.
Police took her to a local station to calm her down and she was later sent to Maharat Nakhon Ratchasima Hospital for treatment.
The rape took place on April 28. According to Thai media reports, the four suspects confessed during police questioning but they were not detained as police said they did not pose a flight risk.
Pol Col Sitthiphon Thimsungnern, chief of the Huai Thalaeng police station, said investigators pressed charges and sent their report to prosecutors in June. After hearing nothing further for two months, the girl and her family turned to the media and a non-governmental organisation for help.
On Aug 30 the family of the victim went to the Huai Thalaeng police station to seek an update on the case. Two days later, the family sought help from the social media advocate Kanthat Pongpaiboonvej, alias Kan Chompalang, who took them to see deputy national police chief Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn.
A few days later, the suspects were finally brought to court. Police and prosecutors opposed bail but the court approved their release on a surety of 400,000 baht and ordered them to wear electronic monitoring devices. They were also ordered to stay at least one kilometre away from the victim’s house.
However, the girl was gripped with fear as her alleged attackers’ houses were in the same area as hers, said a source familiar with the case. Worse still, relatives of the suspects allegedly intimidated her, causing her to seek treatment at a psychiatric hospital.
Some relatives allegedly threatened to hire lawyers to sue her for causing embarrassment to them. They also allegedly asked others to spread news about her being gang-raped. The girl felt ashamed and dared not go to school, said the source.
Pol Col Sitthiphon said he had ordered officers to meet with the families of the suspects. If they did not stop their intimidation, police would ask the court to revoke the suspects’ bail.
The girl, a Mathayom 4 student at a school in Huai Thalaeng, has suffered from depression since she was 12 years old but has not taken her medication regularly. She reportedly had tried to commit suicide on other occasions.
Officials from the provincial office of the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security later brought the girl to receive treatment at Nakhon Ratchasima Rajanagarindra Psychiatric Hospital before sending her back home. She is now under the care of the Witness Protection Office of the Ministry of Justice.