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Big Joke sent to Koh Tao as Brit backpacker urged to return to island

Pol Maj-Gen Surachet Hakparn, deputy commissioner of Tourist Police Bureau, will visit Koh Tao on Tuesday as part of investigation into claims made by a British backpacker that she was raped on the island.

On Monday, national police chief Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda said he was sending Pol Maj-Gen Surachet, affectionately known as Big Joke, so the claims could be properly investigated and with a target of wrapping the case up within the next seven days.

Pol Gen Chakthip also urged the British teenager to return to Thailand and file an official report that she was raped in order to help the police investigation.

As well as investigating claims by the 19 year old teenager, Pol Gen Chakthip said there will be a probe into the conduct of officers on Koh Phangan and vowed to take action if his officers were found to be in the wrong.

The probe comes after the British teenager told The Sun newspaper that police on Koh Phangan had failed to make a record of her reporting the rape, instead only that she was robbed of an iPhone 7, 3,000 baht in cash and 4 bank cards.

However, on Sunday Phangan police commander Pol Colonel Sathit Kongniam maintained that the teenager attended the police station with a male friend but only filed a complaint saying she had been robbed.

The teenager told police she wanted documentation so she could file and insurance claim.

“She said nothing about being assaulted or raped,” Pol Colonel Sathit told reporters.

It was also revealed on Monday that there is no CCTV footage from any of the bars or near the area of the beach where the teenager says the rape took place.

This is because the CCTV footage is kept for seven days before it is wiped so new footage can be recorded.

On Monday General Prawit Wongsuwan, deputy prime minister, was asked about to comment on the rape claims made by the British backpacker.

“What do you want us to do? The police has already told you, what more do you want me to say?”

He said that the police could not do much if the teenager did not report to police that she was raped.

When asked about Koh Tao’s reputation internationally, particularly the reported influential figures who it is claimed control the island, the deputy PM said that he does not believe there is any mafia on the Koh Tao.

The rape allegation was first reported in the Samui Times and was later picked up by the British and Australian press.

The teenager said she had been drugged after drinking with a Thai man in the Fishbowl bar on 26 June. She said she woke up on the beach without her underwear with the man sitting next to her.

She then returned to the United Kingdom on 2 July and reported the incident to the Metropolitan Police. She said she gave police in the UK a t-shirt containing the man’s DNA.

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