Khon Kaen: A van driver accused of drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl surrendered to the police on Monday, insisting on his innocence.
Pol Lt Gen Sarayuth Sanguanphokai, acting commissioner of Provincial Police Region 4, said he was informed on Monday that the suspect, whose name was withheld, had turned himself in to Waeng Noi Police. He brought his van along to be examined by investigators.
The suspect denied all the allegations against him, saying he had worked as a public van driver for 30 years and that he would never commit such crimes.
In order to establish the facts of the case, a multi-disciplinary team, which includes a psychiatrist, psychologist, and social workers and officials from the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, had been brought in to work with police investigators.
However, the process may take some time as the victim is still in a state of shock, said Pol Lt Gen Sarayuth.
The incident reportedly took place on Oct 1, after the girl's parents decided to hire a public van to drive their daughter from Khon Kaen to Bangkok. Investigators were told the girl's elder brother had left the day before and arrived without incident.
The victim's grandmother, Suay, said the girl was supposed to arrive on the morning of Oct 2, but she didn't arrive at the destination until around noon.
When asked, the driver blamed the delay on roadworks along the way.
After the siblings returned to Khon Kaen with the same driver on Oct 31, relatives noted some behavioural changes in the girl, who started having trouble sleeping because of nightmares.
Suay said her granddaughter claimed to have been drugged and sexually assaulted by the van driver on the way from Khon Kaen to Bangkok.
Around dawn, the girl said the suspect urged her to have a sip of water from a container, promising if she drank it, he would bring her to meet her parents.
The girl said when she complained about feeling dizzy, she was raped and threatened by the suspect.
The girl also claimed there were bloodstains on the van's seats, Suay said.