Boy gets on bike to flee beatings, is reunited with mum
NO ONE KNEW what a 14-year-old boy had in mind when he decided to ride a bicycle from the house where he lived with his father in Pathum Thani province on Saturday.
One thing was for sure, however – he could no longer tolerate alleged repeated assaults by his stepmother.
The boy, whose name has been withheld, was well aware that his mother, Naruekamonwan lives in Rayong province after separating from his father, a Navy official.
He got on his bike with his first goal being Victory Monument, about 42 kilometre away, because his mother had told him that it was a public mini-van hubs for trips to Rayong. He had earlier called his mother to collect him from Pathum Thani but she had said she had no money.
The boy spent about three hours getting to the Bangkok landmark, from where he called his mother and again asked for her to fetch him. At that point his mother remembered one of her neighbours drove a taxi in Bangkok, so she asked him to give her son a ride to Rayong … and luckily he was available and agreed.
When she met her son on Saturday, she burst into tears. It was not only because she had finally been reunited with him, however – but because of the visible scars, bruises and wounds that covered his body.
“I didn’t believe my eyes when I saw the scars and traces of the assaults on the body of my son, who is only 14 years of age,” said Naruekamonwan.
The story of the boy’s escape came to light after his mother posted it on her Facebook page, asking readers to help bring her son to her. The shocking story provoked an outpouring of sympathy for what the boy had endured, with several hundred people sharing the post.
The boy told his mother that throughout the seven years he had lived with his father, he had been repeatedly assaulted by his stepmother by whatever means she could think of.
A social worker at Rayong’s Children and Family shelter, who visited the boy at his mother’s house on Sunday, said she was stunned by the wounds he had suffered.
“There are old and new wounds on the body. Some are so fresh the blood is still bleeding,” the social worker said.
The boy said his stepmother punished him by many ways for no reason. The assaults included pressing a hot iron on his arms, hitting his head with hard objects and twisting his lips with pliers.
He lost a piece of his lips from the assaults and sometimes he even passed out after the stepmother strangled him.
From what the boy told his mother, it appears that when the stepmother tortured him, his father and paternal grandparents refused to intervene to help him.
The boy used to telephone his mother, begging her to pick him up but the mother could not, saying she had no money.
On the day he decided to leave the house, his stepmother hit him several times with the edge of a steel ruler until he bled. Then she forced him to clean the house.
The boy was not the only one assaulted by the stepmother, the mother said – his sister had also fled the home to live with his birth mother after enduring the beatings for three years.
Yesterday the boy and his mother went to Pathum Thani’s Klong Luang district to file a police complaint about the alleged assaults.
Police spent about four hours talking to the boy in the presence of children’s welfare officials. Pol Major Boonsing Suthi of Klong Luang police said officers would talk to the boy again in the presence of the public prosecutor, possibly as early as this week.
Police will have the boy examined at a Rayong hospital, Boonsing said. A social welfare volunteer visited the house in Klong Luang district but found the building locked. Neighbours said they did not know much about the family that lived in it.
The public is being urged to call a hotline 1300 if they witness any acts of violence.