Arrest warrants for 3 Thai police officers who allegedly raped a minor

Arrest warrants for 3 Thai police officers who allegedly raped a minor
PHOTO: The Nation/Asia News Network

Arrest warrants have been issued for three police officers from Kong Koy precinct in Mae Sariang district as part of the investigation into the scandal involving the forced prostitution of girls under 18 in Mae Hong Son.

Deputy national police commissioner General Srivara Ransibrahmanakul said yesterday that the Mae Hong Son Court had approved warrants for three policemen over allegations they were involved in the gang rape of a minor.

The three would also be dismissed from the civil service due to the serious breach of discipline, Srivara said, adding that investigators would soon apply for more arrest warrants for at least eight individuals, he said.

The warrants were issued as advocates for children and women's rights urged the government yesterday to punish those involved in the scandal involving the forced prostitution of girls under 18 in Mae Hong Son that reportedly catered to state officials.

They called for accused Mae Hong Song governor Suebsak Iamwichan and policemen to be transferred out of the northern province to prevent any abuse of power or interference in the investigation.

The call for the transfers was part of four demands made yesterday during a press conference after a seminar on the matter at the Thai Journalists Association in Bangkok.

According to Thicha na Nakhon, director of the Ban Kanchanapisek juvenile centre, the three other demands were a call for the Royal Thai Police to speedily proceed with criminal prosecution of those involved, a call for the government to allow representatives of children and women's groups to take part in a |fact-finding probe, and a call for the Justice Ministry to provide protection to witnesses, as the information they provide could be useful in future human |trafficking cases.

The child sex scandal was revealed by a 43-year-old former police informant who was seeking justice for her teenage daughter, who was allegedly lured into taking drugs and coerced into prostitution.

The woman filed a complaint |yesterday at the Crime Suppression Division in Bangkok against Mae Hong Song police chief Pol Maj-General Preecha Wimonchaijit, Muang Mae Hong Son precinct superintendent Somkiat Sawngsuk and police investigators who |previously handled the case.

The woman, whose name was withheld, accused the officers of malfeasance in office, as she felt that she did not get justice in the case, her lawyer Kerdpol Kaewkerd said.

He said the woman's complaint against forced prostitution suspect, Senior Sgt-Major Yutthachai Thongchat of the Nam Piang Din precinct, led to a fact-finding probe by four officers.

The investigation ended abruptly as the officers claimed they found no wrongdoing. This was contrary to the Anti-Human Trafficking Division (AHTD)'s probe later that led to arrest warrants issued last week for Yutthachai and two women.

A police source revealed that two women accused of procuring girls aged under 18 into forced sex work had been interrogated and were sent to Bangkok on Sunday to face legal action by the AHTD.

The AHTD said if the women implicated state officials in the scandal, arrest warrants would be issued.

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