Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Taxi firm fined for putting alleged rapist behind the wheel

Apr 27. 2017
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By The Nation

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The Land Transport Department has fined Thana Siam Taxi Co-operative Bt3,000 for renting one of its vehicles to the man who allegedly raped a Brazilian tourist on Tuesday.

The fine was imposed for failing to submit a driver’s personal details to the department for a criminal background check and for loaning a taxi to a person not licensed to drive public transport.

The taxi’s licence plate number, Thor Yor 4448, has also been cancelled, and the company’s application to increase its fleet has been put on hold for six months from the date of the request. 

The department has notified police to additionally charge the suspect, 44-year-old Khamkhuncharoen Khonchaturas, with driving a taxi without the proper licence.

Khamkhuncharoen, former first name Somkiat, was arrested on Wednesday for driving the tourist from Bangkok to Suphan Buri and allegedly raping her. He is charged with rape and detaining a person against their will. 

Police say he committed at least two rapes previously. He served about four years in prison for assaulting a 20-year-old Thai taxi passenger in Pathum Thani on September 24, 2008, and then was arrested again for raping a 25-year-old Myanmar passenger in Bangkok on January 9, 2013.

The Brazilian victim, a former beauty pageant contestant in her 20s, told police she arrived at Don Mueang International Airport from Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday and hired a taxi at 1.30pm to take her to an address on Soi Thonglor in Bangkok. The driver instead took her to Suphan Buri, where the alleged rape took place, and left her there.

The Land Transport Department has been pressured on the social media to improve the taxi-registration system and ensure that drivers are more strictly screened, particularly for criminal backgrounds.

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