A court yesterday approved the first period of detention for a 53-year-old man who was accused of buying sex from a 14-year-old Suphan Buri girl who was gang-raped and forced into the flesh trade.
Anuchart Hongthong, alias “Pa Chart”, a local influential figure and businessman in Suphan Buri’s Nong Yasai district, is now being detained at Suphan Buri Provincial Prison after his first period of detention, which runs from yesterday to May 2, was approved by Suphan Buri Provincial Court yesterday.
Investigators said the detention was required as police were running background checks on him and other suspects who were nabbed earlier.
On Friday night, Mr Anuchart, who was accused of buying sex from an underage prostitute, was taken from Uthai Thani province, where he was lying low, to Suphan Buri province by Dan Chang police after he contacted Suphan Buri Provincial Police chief Pol Maj Gen Sukhun Prommayon, expressing his intention to surrender.
He was questioned for more than two hours by investigators from Suphan Buri Provincial Police and the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division (ATPD).
ATPD investigator Mana Kleepsattabut, who also questioned Mr Anuchart, yesterday said the suspect denied all allegations and attempted to conceal the truth.
He also insisted on defending himself in court, saying he would consult his lawyer about the case.
Pol Col Mana, however, said investigators were certain they had sufficient evidence including the victim’s testimony to prosecute the man.
The probe will be wrapped up and forwarded to prosecutors soon, he said, adding the investigation will also be widened to track down other suspects involved in the case.
Meanwhile, Mr Anuchart’s family and lawyer yesterday visited him at the prison. They prepared to submit a bail request seeking his temporary release soon.
Seven suspects including teenagers were earlier arrested for allegedly gang-raping the girl at a local internet cafe and a forest in Dan Chang district in November last year.
The suspects were also accused of forcing the girl into the sex trade.
It is unclear how many suspects were involved in the offence.
-The Bangkok Post