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Relatives of a 21-year-old woman who was gang-raped and left for dead in Chanthaburi on May 26 believe she must have been drugged or plied with alcohol and unable to resist being abducted from a nightclub.
The single mother raised her two young children on her own, earning a living selling cosmetics online, said the uncle, whose name is being withheld to protect the victim’s identity.
“She was an orphan. She took care of her two young children after separating from her husband,” he said. “People shouldn’t make assumptions based on how she dressed or her spending time with friends in nightclubs.”
The family is waiting until the case is solved before collecting her body from the morgue for religious rites.
The victim was at the Orbit Pub in Muang Chanthaburi with three female friends but then vanished. The friends assumed she’d gone home.
But a CCTV camera recording widely shared on social media showed four men carrying the unconscious victim out of the pub and placing her in the back of a pickup truck that then sped away.
Police identified and arrested all four men early this week.
Chanthaburi police chief Pol Maj General Charan Jitjeuajun on Wednesday identified them as Natthapong Saenkla, 24, Patthawee Boontham, 23, Surasit Jaikhammee, 23, and an 18-year-old man whose name was withheld due to his age.
Charan said three of the men confessed to rape but insisted they didn’t drug the woman. Surasit said he was present but did not take part in the rape. He’s been charged as an accessory to rape pending forensic test results.
Police led the four men who work as debt collectors through a crime re-enactment at the scenes of the abduction in Muang and the rape in Ma Kham district, where about 20 relatives of the victim and angry bystanders shouted condemnation.
After further interrogation, they were taken to court to apply for a detention order on Thursday afternoon.
Relatives including the victim’s 65-year-old grandmother also confronted a young woman who appeared in the CCTV recording carrying the victim’s purse to the truck.
Appearing at Ma Kham District police station on Thursday afternoon, the unidentified woman told the relatives she didn’t know the victim personally but knew one of the four suspects and assumed the victim had consented to go with them.
“I have no idea where they took her after that,” she said, though the relatives remained suspicious she knew more.
Pol Lt Colonel Jirajet Chitplu said the victim’s three friends who invited her to the pub were being sought for questioning.