Police to look into British tourist’s rape allegation

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Minister of Tourism and Sports Weerasak Kowsurat.
Minister of Tourism and Sports Weerasak Kowsurat.

Bangkok (AP) — Thai police said Monday that they have formed a committee to investigate a rape allegation made by a British tourist who claims that police officers refused to file charges on her behalf when she initially reported the crime.

Police Col. Krissana Pattanacharoen, deputy police spokesman, said an independent committee was established on Sunday to investigate the claims. Krissana said the committee would take seven days to come to a conclusion.

According to a report in the local online newspaper Samui Times, an unidentified 19-year-old British national claimed that she was drugged, robbed and raped on the island of Koh Tao on June 26. The report claimed that police “were happy to make a report of the robbery but refused to take any details of the rape” when the teenager told police on a nearby island what had happened.

Officials claim that she never included allegations of rape in her initial report.

“They (police) have already said before that the person filing the charges did not include this (rape) charge,” Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwan said Monday. “They only reported that they lost their belongings, so what can we do? Police have already talked about it. She didn’t file charges saying she was assaulted or raped or anything.”

Prawit also denied speculation that there were influential people behind the alleged police cover-up. He said “influential people have all been arrested already.”

Meanwhile the Minister of Tourism and Sports Weerasak Kowsurat has announced that several agencies are looking into the facts behind the allegations. The minister noted however that the investigation may be prlonged as the alleged incident took place some time ago.

As for the tourism image of Koh Tao, Weerasak pointed out there’s been no clear indication of a drop in bookings for the island but assured travelers that security in tourism spots would be re-evaluated, with surveillance cameras to be added to at-risk areas and better data collection.

A number of unexplained tourist deaths have taken place in recent years on Koh Tao. The most notorious case of late was of the murders of British nationals Hannah Witheridge and David Miller, who were beaten to death in 2014. That case has been plagued with speculation that the arrested suspects were made scapegoats.