Police have arrested a man for allegedly assaulting and raping a 16-year-old girl under the Naresuan Bridge in Phitsanulok province on Saturday night.
The 44-year-old suspect, Somchai Yenjit, has a criminal record. In 2008, he was convicted and jailed for raping a 13-year-old girl. He walked out of jail in 2013 after completing his sentence.
Two locals, Sanya Naowarat, 30, and his wife were fishing under the bridge when they heard the 16-year-old girl’s calls for help around 8.15pm on Saturday. Somchai fled when the couple rushed to the scene.
“I was sitting on the riverfront in front of a temple when he approached, apparently drunk. I walked away but he hit me in the face with a bottle,” the victim told police.
According to the victim, she was then dragged to a water-drainage pipe under the bridge where the sexual assault occurred.
“Then I saw someone fishing nearby and called for help,” the girl said.
Sanya said when he heard the screams, he used his flashlight to reach the scene of the alleged crime. The suspect, however, had already fled through a network of water-drainage pipes.
He alerted police who spent more than three hours scouring the pipes but could not find the suspect.
The search ended at about 11.15pm, but police decided to wait at the main opening of the pipes.
At 3am on Sunday, police received a tip-off that they had seen the suspect at another location. Police found him swimming in the Nan River and arrested him.
Somchai said he had got out of the pipe network through another opening and denied involvement in the sexual attack. He claimed the alleged victim had agreed to sell sexual services for Bt150 but they got into a quarrel because he later said he would not want to pay.