Police urged to keep Koh Tao case open

Tourists take pictures on the island of Koh Tao. (Reuters file photo)

A senior justice official has urged police to question a British woman who says she was raped in Koh Tao before closing the case to protect tourism.

Poramate Intarachumnum, deputy director-general of the Department of the Attorney-General, said he supported the police chief’s remarks that officers could be sent to question the young Briton in the United Kingdom.

He called on police not to close the case without talking to the alleged victim, saying the quick conclusion, perversely aimed at protecting tourism or officers, may be seen as trivialising tourist safety, which could put visitors off.

“Police should not have brought a charge of making a false claim against the woman. We should explain the truth of this event to the international community after the investigation is closed,” Mr Poramate wrote on his Facebook page.

Pol Maj Gen Apichart Boonsriroj, commander of Surat Thani police, said officers have closed the investigation and cleared all doubts about it.

Local officers and tourism operators on Koh Tao filed a police complaint yesterday against the administrators of two popular Facebook pages that have allegedly spread “false” information about the alleged rape of the 19-year-old British tourist on Surat Thani island.

The complainants included Koh Tao mayor Chaiyan Turasakul, kamnan Somchai Saowalak, Moo 1 and 3 village headmen as well as Sunthorn Srisang, chairman of the Koh Tao tourism association.

They turned up at the Koh Tao police station yesterday to listen to a police briefing about the investigation into the case.

The complainants said they were satisfied with the police’s work, and lodged a complaint against those who run the Samui Times and CSI LA Facebook pages, who ran the story about the woman who claimed she was raped on the island on June 25.

Mr Chaiyan said the two Facebook pages intended to damage the island’s tourism by spreading false information online.

“This is a deliberate act to discredit the tourism and caused vast damage to Koh Tao and the country, something which must not be condoned,” he said.

Tourism on the island is expected to be revived soon, despite the publicity, Mr Sunthorn said.

More CCTV cameras are needed in risky areas of the island, Mr Boonsriroj said, adding that officers would also try to make sure no tourist is left on the beach at night.

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