Allegations of child abuse in Jomtien unfounded, viral video misunderstood

Emma runs to hug her mother after she came to meet her at a church near Jomtien Beach, confirming that her mother did not hurt her. Authorities concluded the situation was a case of separation anxiety rather than abuse.

PATTAYA, Thailand – A viral video alleging child abuse at the Na Jomtien Government Housing Complex prompted a thorough investigation by local authorities. The 38-second clip, posted on a Facebook page, featured a child’s screams and claimed on-going abuse on the 3rd floor, quickly attracting widespread attention and concern.

On May 26, a team led by Apichart Kongtod, Deputy District Chief of Sattahip, and Nonglak Jitjaigla, Deputy Mayor of Khao Chi Chan Sub-district, along with Pol. Col. Watchanai Saengrith, Superintendent of Na Jomtien Police Station, inspected the building. They met with the child’s mother but did not find the child, who was attending a church activity with friends.

Natcha C., the 27-year-old mother, explained that her child’s cries were due to separation anxiety, as she had recently started a new job requiring her to leave in the early evening until morning. The child, attached to her mother, cried briefly when she left for work. Natcha’s husband, a foreigner, had returned to his home country.

Natcha also mentioned that she leaves a mobile phone with her child to stay in contact and admitted to occasionally scolding her child for coming home late after playing with friends but denied any harm. To prevent further misunderstandings and ensure her child’s welfare, she plans to quit her job or devise a new plan for childcare.

Authorities later took Natcha to meet her daughter, Emma, at a church near Jomtien Beach. Emma ran to hug her mother, confirming to reporters that her mother did not hurt her. She explained that she cried because her mother went to work, expressing her love and desire not to be apart from her.

Natthawat Chaneim, a neighbour who takes Emma to church every Sunday, observed Emma the morning after hearing the news and found no bruises on her body. He noted that if she had been abused, there would be visible injuries. He described Emma as usually cheerful and easily getting along with friends. The authorities concluded that the situation was a case of separation anxiety rather than abuse, bringing relief to the concerned community.