Ambassador Visits Scene of Rape on Thai Island

Cambodia’s ambassador to Thailand flew to the country’s Koh Kut island on Monday to investigate the rape of a French mother and daughter by five Cambodian fisherman on Saturday evening and is expected to deliver a full report to the Foreign Affairs Ministry today, according to a ministry official.

All five fishermen were arrested on Sunday after attacking four French tourists with knives on the resort island in Thailand’s eastern Trat province and forcing themselves on the two female members of the group, the Associated Press reported.

On the orders of Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong, Ambassador Eat Sophea on Monday traveled from Bangkok to Koh Kut on a daylong fact-finding mission, according to ministry spokesman Chum Sounry.

“His Excellency told the Cambodian ambassador in Thailand to investigate the story, and this morning she flew by helicopter together with Thai authorities,” Mr. Sounry said, explaining that the ministry had only learned about the case from Thai media reports.

The spokesman said he did not have any details on Ms. Sophea’s investigation, but that she was due to submit a report to the ministry this morning.

Citing Trat police chief Nopparat Rintapol, The Bangkok Post reported on Monday that the five men had worked on a trawler named the Chok Kamolwan, which had anchored off Koh Kut on Saturday due to rough seas.

After getting drunk onboard, the newspaper said, the five Cambodian fishermen donned life jackets and swam ashore in search of more alcohol then came across the French holidaymakers. One of the Frenchmen reportedly told police that after attacking all four with knives and sticks, the fishermen proceeded to rape the women, aged 28 and 57, stopping only after the Frenchman raised the alarm at their nearby resort.

Three of the suspects, identified by The Bangkok Post newspaper as Yim, 25; Pai, 22; and Jern, 25 were allegedly caught hiding in a forest on the island at about 5 a.m. while the other two—Thi and Bot Man, both 20—were apprehended while attempting to cross into Cambodia at the Cham Yeam border checkpoint, having traveled to the mainland aboard the trawler.

During a re-enactment of the assault on Monday, the fishermen demonstrated to police how they had split into two groups and attacked and raped the two women separately, according to the newspaper. And despite the presence of police and other security personnel, an angry island resident managed to punch one of the suspects, it reported.

In an article published last night, the AP said Thai police would press charges of rape and conspiracy to commit assault against the five fishermen, who have confessed to the crimes.

The article also describes the injuries sustained by the victims—a mother, daughter, male relative and friend—who were admitted to a hospital in Trat on the night of the attack. Citing a hospital official, it states that one suffered a broken nose and another a broken arm. A third member of the group, the article says, is suffering from bleeding of the brain from lacerations to the head.

In September 2014, two British tourists were violently murdered while walking on the beach on another Thai island, Koh Tao. One of them, 23-year-old Hannah Witheridge, was also raped. While two Burmese bar workers were convicted of the crime in December and sentenced to death, international rights groups have criticized the verdict amid accusations that the confessions were obtained under torture.

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