By Donrawee Sudphum,
THE deputy chief of the Department of Children and Youth has ordered a probe into whether a ‘high-society’ woman, known for taking hilltribe girls in her care, could be guilty of a human trafficking offence for her alleged patronage of girls under 18 with offers to send them abroad.
The woman, identified only by her nickname Kai, was recently in the news for filing a complaint for theft against her 19-year-old former maid Prapawan “Goi” Jaikla and her parents.
Supatcha Suttipol, the deputy chief of the department, made her remarks, after talking to Kai’s former maid – identified only as “Noona”, 25 – who was jailed for 18 months in 2010 for a similar theft charge filed by Kai.
Supatcha said she would have officials check if Kai’s behaviour was against the law, although Noona’s claim of being detained was not clear enough because officials found she could travel in and out of Kai’s house during the employment.
At the Crime Suppression Division (CSD), Prachabodi Centre director and Mae Hong Son Children and Family Home head, Srisuwan Sorasak, testified to police that Kai – who he said often claimed to be a Khunying with different names including Montha and Suchada – had adopted several hilltribe girls in Mae Hong Son by promising the girls’ parents that she would send them to school.
She also allegedly forced money into the parents’ hands – like in the case of Noona who fled to get married. Kai later reportedly claimed to have rights over the girl because of the Bt10,000 payment, he said. More young women – five girls under 18 and one 21-year-old – went to work with Kai in 2008 but when the theft charge was filed against Noona in 2010, they all fled back home.
The girls claimed Kai intimidated employees who refused to do her bid by filing criminal charges and trying to take them out of the country, so they filed a complaint with the Prachabodui Centre. They didn’t dare to talk to police earlier due to fear of Kai’s influence, he added.
Earlier yesterday, Goi and her parents were accompanied by well-known lawyer Songkran Atchariyasap to testify to CSD officers, before they were later sent to give additional testimony to Bangkok’s Pracha Cheun police. They insisted Kai’s accusation of them stealing Bt10 million gold bars and diamonds from her house in Bangkok on March 18, 2014 was false.
The group was accompanied by another young woman, Wanichaya Bunsunheng, whose mother Sukanya Sirimoung was jailed following a similar complaint by Kai. She had already filed a complaint with CSD police against Kai. Justice Fund director Mayuree Jamjaras also brought Bt200,000 cash to seek bail for Goi’s parents, under Article 29 of the Justice Fund Act to provide legal aid to the destitute suspects.
An engineering first-year student, Goi – whose arrest last November landed her a three-month detention at a women’s home – had claimed that she had refused many offers by Kai to go abroad. She claimed that was the reason she was hit with the false theft charge.
Goi’s mother backed up her story by telling police that she, her husband, and the girl worked with Kai following a neighbour’s recommendation for 24 days. She said Kai tried to adopt Goi so she could send the girl to work with a famous person in Hong Kong and the girl could earn Bt2 million to Bt5 million. But the family rejected her offer hence they were allegedly threatened by Kai that they would face a theft charge, so the family fled.
Yesterday afternoon, Kai and her lawyer Thanabodi Seprathanont went to meet CSD police inspector Pol Lt-Colonel Natprakorn Panyadee to reject the reports that she had allegedly bullied her former employees with theft prosecution.
Kai said she had heard CSD officers wanted to issue an arrest warrant for her on a charge of filing a false complaint, hence she had come forward to show her sincerity and her readiness to fight the accusations.
She insisted that she had enough evidence, including CCTV footage, to file the theft complaint against Goi.
Kai insisted she had never been prosecuted in any criminal case and denied being linked to the late fortune-teller Suriyan “Mor Yong” Sujaritpalawong. She said she was consulting her lawyer to look at the possibility of counter-suing people, including Songkran, and would host a press conference in three days to clear the society’s doubts.