Evil man of Krabi

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First published 11th November, 2012

In late July of this year, a Dutch woman, on the way home from celebrating her 19th birthday at a bar in Ao Nang Krabi, was allegedly beaten and raped by a Thai tour guide. When she later arrived at hospital, the medical team treating her assumed she had been in a motorcycle accident because of the severity of her injuries. The assailant, whom she identified and who initially confessed to the crime when arrested -- a month later -- is now out on bail, and denying guilt.


Unfortunately crimes in Thailand similar to the above are not nearly as uncommon as you'd hope. A quick Google search brings up the case of a 23 year-old Israeli woman who was attacked and raped on Ko Pha Ngan; a 34 year-old Finnish woman attacked and raped on Ko Lipe; and a 23 year-old Australian woman raped by two men on Phuket. And that is just from the first two pages of results.

What makes the case of the Dutch woman slightly different is that her father released a video, titled "The Evil Man of Krabi", in which he takes the authorities to task for what he believes to be lax treatment. The video has gone viral and now been viewed more than 400,000 times.

As press coverage of the video, increased perhaps due to another attack in Krabi where an English couple were stabbed by a gang of seven youths, some news reports have hinted at Krabi hoteliers seeing some room cancellations due to a perception of Krabi, and particularly Ao Nang, being unsafe.

This development brought a woeful response from the Thai authorities. First the permanent secretary of the Tourism and Sports Ministry Suwat Sitthilor stated that the video should be blocked in Thailand. Then, in a step back into the 17th century (possibly earlier), Tourism Minister Chumphol Silapa-archa stated that the attack couldn't be considered rape because (quoting Thai police) "The woman had dinner with the Thai suspect and a foreign man. Later, she told the foreign man to return to the hotel before heading off with the suspect." (The victim's boyfriend has denied they had dinner with the assailant beforehand -- but even so, who cares if they had?).

Hello?

Sorry Chumphol Silapa-archa, we missed the bit where you display at least a token of empathy towards the 19 year-old woman who was raped in the country that you are in charge of promoting for tourism. Yes, rape is bad for business -- as it should be.

All people in Thailand, be they foreigners, locals, women or men, should be able to enjoy themselves without worrying about becoming a victim of apparently state-sanctioned rape.

Instead, we're confronted with state bodies dismissing the attack, trying to block the video and now apparently planning their own video release promoting Thailand as a destination. "Amazing No-Raping Thailand" perhaps?

Perhaps a more astute response would have been to apologise, profusely, and explain how you are working with authorities to try and get the bail revoked, as as it stands, it may be two years before this guy even faces trial.

Let's not forget that the assailant's sister (who also owns a bar in Ao Nang) came forward to offer the victim an inducement to drop the charges.

We'd have assumed one of the best ways to improve Thailand's reputation would be to have people like this behind bars.

In the meantime, what are potential rape victims -- sorry, I mean tourists -- to do to have a safe journey in Thailand?

Stay in control. If you're going to have a big night out, do it with friends. Don't accept rides home from complete strangers.

Or just don't go to Krabi.

Over the last few years there have been a number of deaths of young foreign travellers in Thailand that have received poor, or at least not particularly transparent, investigations. Most famously, perhaps, was the Chiang Mai rape and murder of Kirsty Jones in 2000. Since then there have been the bizarre "chemical deaths" in Chiang Mai and Ko Phi Phi, toxic cocktails on Ko Phi Phi and shooting deaths in Kanchanaburi and Pai. In some of these cases, the attackers are in jail; in others, no one has been punished.

Of course, the vast majority of travellers to Thailand have safe holidays and return home unhurt, save for a hangover, a motorbike burn, or a dodgy tattoo, but this is all the more reason why the authorities in charge, especially those involved in the promotion of Thailand as a destination for young travellers, should be doubling down on their efforts to solve these crimes.

Instead, they're busying themselves trying to sweep it under the carpet. It's a disgrace.


About the author:
Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton and he spends most of his time in Bali, Indonesia.


Read 8 comment(s)

  • Excellent writing and message, Stuart. Thank you! Jim

    Posted by jim conant on 12th November, 2012

  • Let me update you that the rapist of the Israeli girl was captured few days after the crime.

    The Israeli police together with the Thai police conducted a swift investigation which resulted with a DNA match.

    Based on information from Israeli officials in Ko-Samui they have reported that the Thai police was very helpful and took the case very seriously. If this would not have been the case, then big noise would come out of it.

    This was reported by several Israeli news agencies.

    Posted by MB on 12th November, 2012

  • This is terible news. We would add that when traveling in Thailand, it's easy to feel relaxed and let your guard down, after all the great majority of Thais are sweet, gentle people. But no place is completely safe and we always caution about traveling alone.

    Patrick Morris
    Indochina Travel

    Posted by Patrick Morris on 12th November, 2012

  • I just took Thailand off my travel plans......had so looked forward to visiting that country but no more~

    Posted by Lucy Mason on 12th November, 2012

  • Two thoughts

    First, well done Travelfish for writing about this when sending people to Thailand is obviously a part of what you do.

    Secondly, my family and I are no longer one of those people.

    While holidaying here in Europe will cost us substantially more at least I know that if we are as unlucky as this poor Dutch family, we won't have the authorities trying to cover it up. Baffles me that the attacker receiver bail, but even moreso that the tourism gentleman above still has a job.

    Thanks & well done
    James & family

    Posted by Bye Thailand on 12th November, 2012

  • This is a terrible occurrence and it's a shame that the local government hasn't locked up the rapist. As a tour guide he should be held to a higher standard of conduct. There is no excuse for his despicable behavior.

    That being said, Thailand is an amazing country. We spent a wonderful three weeks there. The only thing I did not enjoy was our jaunt into Krabi & Ao Nang. The locals there were nothing like the locals in the rest of Thailand. We noticed that the locals were not helpful, weren't particularly friendly and prices were over-inflated.

    Don't take Thailand off your travel list! I say skip Krabi altogether and spend more time in Bangkok or Chiang Mai.

    Posted by Cristina on 12th November, 2012

  • I was dropped off in Suratthani for no apparent reason on my way to Bangkok, and was told that another bus will arrive to pick me to Bangkok and I have to wait for 3 hours. When asked, the ' tour agency ' guy said that he can't do anything about it,and that I was ( apparently) cheated by the agency in Haadyai who sold me the ticket.He said all this while playing cards and drinking with his friends. I would advise anyone planning Thailand to be very careful of touts and cheats. Thai people are nice people, but there are also fraudsters and cheaters who will only be too willing to rip you off.Be very careful, or just skip it for now.

    Posted by Kuna on 14th November, 2012

  • I have a crime story in Thailand also with no justice yet. I have lived and worked there nine and a half years. A year ago, I was attacked by the director of the university's English program and wound up with three stitches in the back of my head. Please read my story here and tell others to read it as well.

    http://www.stickmanbangkok.com/ReadersSubmissions2012/reader7778.htm

    Posted by Gregg Hamilton on 27th February, 2013

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