Accused in broadcast assault may face attempted murder charge, say police

national April 24, 2018 04:00

By THE NATION

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A MAN hit with four criminal charges following his assault and humiliation of his 21-year-old girlfriend during a Facebook Live broadcast on Sunday might also be facing an attempted murder charge, national police deputy chief Pol General Weerachai Songmetta said yesterday.



While visiting the woman at Nopparat Ratchathani Hospital, Weerachai was told that her boyfriend Chaichana Sirichart, the 26-year-old administrator of a currency market or forex (FX) investment-teaching web page, had also inflicted a knife wound to her throat in Sunday’s attack.

Hospital director Dr Somboon Thossaboworn said the victim’s injuries included a swollen face, broken nose, knife wound to the throat, broken right arm, broken left small finger, along with burn wounds and bruises all over her body (including some traces of old wounds) which was believed to come from eight hours of torture before she was finally rescued.

Given the injuries, Weerachai said a previously-filed assault charge would become a charge of aggravated assault leading to serious injury, punishable by six months to 10 years in prison. 

The other three already-filed charges would remain the same: illegal detention, violating the computer crime act by inputting images of another person causing her humiliation, and taking methamphetamine.

The woman claims Chaichana attacked her six times throughout their eight-month relationship. Weerachai said Chaichana, undre the influence of illegal drugs, might have hallucinated about the woman’s alleged infidelity.

Meanwhile, Metropolitan Police Area 4 chief Pol Maj-General Theerapong Wongratpitak, who briefly questioned Chaichana at Bung Kum police station, said many people had each paid him Bt15,000 for an FX trading course but had never received tuition and could soon file complaints against him. 

Chaichana tearfully expressed his remorse, saying he wanted to apologise to the victim’s parents and wouldn’t have attacked the girlfriend, whom he still loved, if he could turn back time. He claimed he attacked her under the influence of drugs, stress and rage over a dispute over Bt6 million cash plus his accusation that she had affairs with other men.

This contradicted the information given by a source among the victim’s relatives, who refuted speculation on social media that a Bt40 million stock sale might have been at the root of the attack.

 The source said this was not true because the victim’s family still supported her expenses and tuition, adding that the woman had told them she wanted to leave Chaichana but they talked her out of it, as they thought he was a good man.

Meanwhile, deputy national police spokesman Colonel Krissana Pattanacharoen said that committing a public humiliation is punishable by up to one year in prison and/or up to a Bt20,000 fine, while defamation via social media is punishable by up to two years in prison or a maximum fine of Bt200,000. He urged people who came across domestic abuse to call 191 to report the incident immediately so police could act speedily to rescue victims.

On Sunday at 7pm, police responding to a complaint went to a condominium in Nawamin area, where they found Chaichana – who police said appeared high on meth – and negotiated until he released the battered woman. The suspect, nabbed after two hours of negotiations, admitted to having used drugs and said he attacked the victim out of jealousy, police said. 

Meanwhile, well-known human rights activist Angkhana Neelaphaijit posted on her Facebook, citing this case as what the #MeToo global social-media movement against sexual harassment and assault was trying to curb. She said this assault and live broadcast signified that the gender-based violence in Thai society was getting worse. She added that in cases of terrorising and humiliating, the victim was often painted as having done something to deserve such treatment. 

Angkhana urged society to be responsible and solve this “structural violence” social issue which is too often considered a personal matter in which the victims are left to face the violence alone. She said that jealousy must not be used as a justification to assault women. 

She said the sexual violence must not be a negotiable offence, drug abuse must not be an excuse for violence and police must punish wrongdoers.

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