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Surat Thani police question US teenager’s rape complaint


Surat Thani police have publicly cast doubt on a US teenager’s rape complaint filed on Wednesday.

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Provincial police chief Pol Maj-General Apichart Boonsriroj on Thursday held a meeting of investigators to expedite the investigation after an American teenage girl filed a complaint stating that she had been raped by a tuk tuk driver.
Apichart also sent the 16-year-old girl, who is a student participating in an exchange programme, for a second medical check at a provincial hospital after the preliminary check reportedly failed to find evidence that the teenager had been assaulted.

A Rotary Club official and a teacher took the teenager to file the complaint at Muang Surat Police Station on Wednesday, saying she had been raped by a tuk tuk driver on Monday after she left school.
She reportedly had been headed to a restaurant near a Samui Island boat pier in the downtown area of the district.

After the alleged incident, the girl called her parents, who called the US Embassy, which in turn contacted the teacher.

Apichart said the preliminary investigation had found evidence that contradicted with the teenager's account.

According to the police chief, the girl reported that she had left her school and taken a tuk tuk, whose driver subsequently raped her. However, Apichart said footage from CCTV in the area showed the girl exiting the school and walking to a convenience store before returning to the school.

Additional footage reported showed the girl walking from the school to the home of the Thai family with whom she was staying.
Police had not found footage of the girl being attacked by a tuk tuk driver, Apichart said.

He added that he had instructed investigators to thoroughly review CCTV footage recorded from Monday to Wednesday.

The girl has been staying with a Thai family who lives about five kilometres from a well-known school in downtown Surat Thani for the past four months.

Apichart said the family sent the girl to and picked her up from school everyday.
During the year-end holidays, the girl took a holiday with other exchange students and returned to the family's home on December 31.
Monday was the first day that she returned to school.

Published : January 11, 2018

By : The Nation