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While another young victim struggles to come to terms with her ordeal on Koh Tao the media frenzy about the rape of the 19 year old British girl goes on unabated.
As usual, rather than investigate crimes in a timely manner the Thai authorities are blaming the messenger and accusing this publication of spreading fake news.
Sanook has reported that the Surat Thai provincial police chief had ordered that a committee be set up to investigate the claims made on social media and in the Daily Mail newspaper in the UK.
Daily News in Thailand said that the same provincial chief was going after local media who he said had a vendetta to discredit Koh Tao. He was apparently referring to online news organisation Samui Times saying they could face tech charges for spreading fake news. Daily News quoted Pol Maj Gen Apichart Bunsrirot, the Surat Thani provincial chief, as saying that local media had been spreading damaging stories about Koh Tao ever since the murders of two tourists on the island. He suggested that charges in relation to contravening Thailand’s laws on computer crime could be made.
Far from spreading fake news the Samui Times has once again broken news from Koh Toa that has been picked up by international mainstream media, as we did in the case of missing Russian girl Valentina Novozhenova who went missing on Koh Tao from 15 February 2017. Prior to the Samui Times breaking the story, three weeks after her disappearance, nobody had looked for the girl and a search for her only took place once the news was broken by the Samui Times.
Far from being fake, this story was broken after the mother of the victim got in touch with our publication and gave us first hand information as to what transpired on Koh Tao on the 26th of June.
In this latest case the police on Koh Phangan refused to take the report of a young British girl being raped, despite her travel companion, who also had his drink spiked, returning to Koh Tao to look at CCTV footage. The police on Koh Tao, who initially denied all knowledge of the rape, told the young man as he was not the rape victim they could not look into CCTV footage from the bar they had been drinking in. The young man then went to the bar himself and was told there was no CCTV.
Thai media are now reporting that the CCTV footage has been erased due to the time delay in asking for it, two months has passed, however, however it was requested the day after the rape.
Top police are now flying in to Koh Tao by helicopter to investigate the rape claim, but as with Valentina Novozhenova its rather like shutting the gate after the horse has bolted.
On the one hand the police, Thai media and local authorities are accusing the Samui Times of fake new, but on the other hand they are flying in to investigate. Pol Maj Gen Apichart Bunsrirot suggests the Samui Times are in breach of Thailand’s Computer Crimes Act, but is however, prepared to investigate the crime which is now headline news in Thailand that he says is fake!
The Samui Times does not have a vendetta against Koh Tao, however, it is gravely concerned that the crimes on Koh Tao are not investigated and for the second time the police have only investigated once the Samui Times broke the story.
The Samui Times has also been accused on social media of removing the stories regarding this rape from its website. This is untrue. No stories have been removed. The stories no longer appear on our home page as each day new stories appear there. A simple search of our site will produce original articles.
The Samui Times stands by its reporting on this case and has enough evidence from the family of the victim to prove to any court in any country this is not fake reporting.
It is very easy for Koh Tao to blame the press for bad publicity on the island, or to suggest that young backpackers incite problems by using alcohol and drugs to have a good time. It would be far more productive, however, to stop blaming the press and the victims and show the world the island is properly policed, that crimes are investigated, in a timely manner and not months after the events took place and all evidence is lost, and not only after this publication brings these crimes to the world’s attention!