Disengage Brain Before Speaking
Earlier this year a 19 year old Dutch tourist was brutally raped by a Thai tour guide in the popular seaside resort of Ao Nang, Krabi. Her attacker was arrested and then promptly freed on bail. Letting a violent rapist who had already fled once to avoid arrest out on bail may seem a little odd, but then, Thailand is a foreign country: they do things differently there. In fact, even convicted murderers can be let out on bail here before serving their sentences.
Recently five policemen were found guilty of murdering a teenage boy, with three of them being sentenced to death, one to life imprisonment, and one to seven years inside. His body had been dragged along the ground by handcuffs, causing deep cuts to his wrists. His body was covered with cuts and bruises. And – perhaps most shockingly – his testicles had been crushed. Finally he was strangled and hanged. And the court, in a decision that defies belief, granted them bail pending an appeal.
What makes the bail decision even more shocking is that there are more than twenty other murders linked to these policemen, and that they have a track record of extreme witness intimidation. And just to top things off, witness protection was withdrawn from the three key witnesses just because the trial was over and the policemen had been found guilty.
The father of the Dutch rape victim was aggrieved by the decision to grant bail to the rapist and made a music video which he uploaded to Youtube. It goes by the name Evil Man from Krabi (link below).
This video has, as they say, “gone viral”, and as a consequence there have been a lot of cancellations of tourist bookings in the Krabi area. This has brought reaction from the Tourism and Sports Ministry.
The Tourism Minister Chumphol Silpa-archa (younger brother of former Prime Minister Banharn Silpa-archa – nice how politics is a family-run business in Thailand) said that the incident could not be considered rape because the victim had had dinner with her attacker previously. Funny that. I hadn’t realised that brutally beating your partner so that she is in fear for her very life was a normal part of foreplay in Thailand. As I say, they do things differently here.
A Permanent Secretary’s response to the video was to consult with the Information and Communications Technology Minister about blocking the music video from being viewed from within Thailand.
It seems that a key requirement for being a government official here is the ability to disengage the brain before speaking.
Whilst the government is blaming the fall in foreign tourist numbers to Krabi upon the rape and video, another incident might also have a bearing. Last month a British couple were reportedly attacked by a group of youths on motorcycles, also in Ao Nang, in what appears to have been a sexually-motivated assault. The man was later treated for stab wounds to his face, arms, chest and legs. One local businessman subsequently posted on a webboard:
“In Ao Nang, I fear that another tourist death is imminent. Gangs of teenage kids armed with knives and machetes roam the roads like something out of a Hollywood horror movie.”
Similar incidents, both in Krabi and at other top tourist destinations, are far from uncommon, so rather than trying to deny the rape and block the video, shouldn’t the Ministry be doing something to make Thailand’s top resorts safer for their visiting guests?
Human Rights Watch report on murder of teenage boy: http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/08/24/thailand-ending-kalasins-police-reign-terror
Report on rape of Dutch girl: http://www.andrew-drummond.com/2012/09/model-raped-on-her-19th-birthday-we.html
“Evil Man From Krabi” music video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRErWjo809g
Pack sex attack report: http://www.andrew-drummond.com/2012/10/briton-stabbed-defending-girlfriend-in.html