07/05/2021

THAILAND DAILY

NEWSPAPER / MAGAZINE / PUBLISHER

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Royal Thai Police Sergeant Major arrested on Ko Samui, charged with the rape of female detainee

Bail for the Ko Samui police officer accused of rape set at ฿400,000, officer already released by the court. While the policeman was arrested, charged this week and is facing a disciplinary enquiry which could see him removed from the service, there is also understood to be a wider probe into what happened at Bophut Police Station on Wednesday morning. Police have access to extensive CCTV footage and a forensics team was called in to examine a sofa at the traffic control room where the alleged rape took place after the young woman was removed by the offending officer from holding cells between 1.40 am and 2.20 am.

A major investigation is underway centred on Bophut Police station on Ko Samui after a senior Sergeant Major was arrested this week and charged with the rape of a 21-year-old Myanmar woman being held in detention at the station’s holding cells in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

police-sergeant-charged-rape-myanmar-woman-ko-samui
Police Major-General Sathit Pholpinit, the Deputy Police Chief of Surat Thani province has overseen a thorough and expedited investigation which saw the accused policeman arrested, charged and brought before Ko Samui Provincial Court on charges of rape. A disciplinary panel is expected to report within days and to recommend the officer’s removal from the police and government service after the shocking incident in which a Myanmar woman claims she was taken from a holding cell at Bophut Police Station and raped on a couch in another room.

A senior sergeant major with the Royal Thai Police at Bophut Police Station on Ko Samui was arrested and held in detention at Ko Samui Provincial Court before posting bail of ฿400,000 to secure his release pending trial on Friday. Investigating police officers have found evidence of alleged rape early on Wednesday morning at the busy police station involving a 21 year old Myanmar woman being held in the prison cells on drug charges.

The officer was seen at least ten times by CCTV cameras at the station as he walked to the holding cells at approximately 1.40 am and retrieved the young woman from detention and escorted her to a traffic control room in the facility with a small couch.

It is understood that the policeman then raped the woman before returning her to the holding cells.

Complaint made by Myanmar Embassy to Bophut police chief sparked the investigation

Reports of the rape reached Police Major-General Sathit Pholpinit, the Deputy Police Chief of Surat Thani province when senior officers at the station launched an investigation after a representative of the Myanmar Embassy in Thailand filed a complaint with Police Colonel Yutthana Sirisombat, the police chief at Bophut.

On Thursday, Major Sathit arrived on Ko Samui to oversee an intensifying probe of the rape allegations. Police quickly interrogated the officer at the centre of the complaint and although he denied certain aspects of the allegation made against him by the woman, he admitted to others.

21-year-old woman taken to Ko Samui hospital where physical tests were carried out for signs of abuse

The 21-year old woman was reportedly taken to Ko Samui Hospital for a physical examination immediately after the complaint was made. Sources suggest that medics have found evidence of abuse. 

In addition, the CCTV cameras within the station at 10 different points all corroborate the claims made by the young woman.

The officer concerned has been identified as Police Major Watcharin Sin Samosom who is understood to belong to another police station.

Officer removed from duty, facing a disciplinary panel

The sergeant-major has already been suspended from duty and charged with the rape of the woman. A disciplinary enquiry has been empanelled to investigate the allegations and make a report within 7 days.

This is expected to lead to the removal of Sergeant Major Watcharin from the police force and government service.

The 21-year-old Myanmar woman had originally been arrested on drug charges and delivered to Bophut police station on January 12th from Ko Samui prison to begin the process of deportation from Thailand.

It is also reported that relatives of the woman have filed a complaint with Bophut police in relation to the case. A spokesman with Thailand’s Ministry of Justice has suggested that compensation may be available to the victim and her family in relation to the incident from a special government fund.

Sergeant Major Watcharin charged with rape at Ko Samui Provincial Court, granted bail on Friday

Police on Thursday had moved to request that the accused police officer be denied bail as the investigation into the case progressed although the Ko Samui Provincial court on Friday agreed to bail at ฿400,000 which was paid promptly on behalf of the defendant.

Police are also understood to be looking at the safety and security protocols at the police station and its holding cells with instructions from both the Deputy Police Chief, Major General Sathit and the Governor of Surat Thani province, Wichawut Jinto, that the health and well being of all detainees be considered carefully.

Wider probe into what happened exactly at Bophut Police Station on Wednesday morning

The investigation teams are also looking at the action of all other police personnel linked to the case to ascertain exactly what happened early on Wednesday morning.

‘Today, the police from the Center 8 came down to check the sofa for evidence. In the traffic laboratory, the place where the rape occurred. Bophut Police Station officials were also instructed to take good care of the victim who is still being detained in the Bophut Police Station holding cells,’ said Major Sathit while the provincial governor emphasised the need for thoroughness and fairness with the investigation including care for the well being of all the inmates in detention. 

‘Even though the inmates are foreigners waiting to be deported, we must ensure that there is fairness. At the same time, the police have already reported the incident to the Myanmar Embassy in Thailand. The embassy acknowledged the matter.’ the governor of Surat Thani said. 

Deputy Police Chief of Surat Thani sees the image of the force at stake as police station finds itself at the centre of a criminal investigation

Major General Sathit told reporters that no stone would be left unturned in this case as it was a matter which reflected on the Royal Thai Police and its image. 

He wanted to assure the public that robust action was being taken but fairness would be observed for all parties.

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Further reading:

Bangkok Metropolitan police officer gets bail in court after admitting he killed his pretty wife unintentionally

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About the Author

James Morris is a pename for an international writer based in Bangkok who works on various international news media. He is a sub editor with the Thai Examiner news website since it began in 2015. Son Nguyen is an international writer and news commentator specialising in Thai news and current affairs. He commenced working with the Thai Examiner News Desk in May 2018.

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