A restaurant owner accused of paying a gang to take part in the rape of a 14-year-old girl surrendered to police on Friday night after an arrest warrant was issued by Suphan Buri Court.
Anuchat Hongthong, a 53-year-old widower who is well known in Nong Ya Sai district, turned himself in at 10.30pm to face the charges of raping a minor under 15 and taking the girl away from her guardian/parent for lewd acts last November.
Pol Col Mana Kleepsattabut, deputy superintendent at the Anti-Human Trafficking Division (AHTD), said Anuchat initially denied the charges and said he would testify only in court. AHTD investigators will now take Anuchat to apply for the court to approve his first 12-day detention period pending police investigations.
The investigation into the alleged gang rape of the girl in Suphan Buri’s Dan Chang district and putting pressure on her to do commercial sex work has progressed quickly after lawyer Songkran Atchariyasap, who chairs a network that targets threats to the nation, religion and monarchy, helped the victim’s family contact relevant officials.
The girl, who was hospitalised for three weeks after the incident and suffered both physical and emotional trauma, has been put under the care of a state-run shelter for rehabilitation.
Several others have been arrested over the incident, including Pramuan Khanchatha, 24, who is now on bail; Sunai Bunpaen, 22, and Thananwat Kamhaengkhumphon, 21, who were brought for a rape crime re-enactment at an Internet cafe last week; Pramuan’s sister Supree Khanchatha, 19, and her friend Thanapat Saenkham, 31, both of whom allegedly procured the girl for the sex trade.
Mana said that current evidence didn’t implicate any more accomplices or suggest any state official’s involvement.