Abused Girl Heads for Hospital, as Thai Police Hunt for Couple

Burmese labor official Naing Htun hands 25,000 baht ($840) to a Karen girl who escaped from a Thai couple accused of inflicting severe abuse on her for five years. (Photo: President’s Office Facebook page)

Two days after her tormentors failed to show up for a court hearing, an ethnic Karen girl who suffered severe injuries at the hands of an abusive Thai couple has been taken to a Bangkok hospital to receive treatment.

The 12-year-old girl, whose identity remains concealed to protect her privacy, is expected to undergo testing at Mahidol University’s Ramathibodi Hospital on the extensive damage done to her skin through repeated scalding allegedly inflicted by the couple, whom she accused of abducting her five years ago.

The couple, Nathee Taeng-orn, 35, and Rattanakorn Piyavoratharm, 33, of Kamphaeng Phet Province, failed to appear in court on Monday after being released on bail earlier this month. The girl escaped from their custody on Jan. 31.

Thai police have offered a reward of 100,000 baht (US $3,350) for information leading to their arrest.

According to Naing Htun, a Burmese labor official who is acting as the government’s official contact with the girl, the head of the children’s shelter where she has been staying since her escape said she would be transferred to Bangkok on Wednesday.

“He told me on the phone yesterday that they would be taking the girl to the best hospital in Bangkok today,” Naing Htun told The Irrawaddy on Wednesday.

There were earlier reports that the girl was be taken to a hospital in Nakhon Sawan Province, which neighbors Kamphaeng Phet. However, the severity of her injuries, which have caused her left arm to fuse with her chest, will require more advanced treatment than the hospital can provide.

Naing Htun said that he had expressed concern about the Thai court’s decision to grant the couple bail, but was assured that it wouldn’t prevent them facing justice.

“I asked the police about the couple’s release on bail, but they said they had already gathered enough evidence, and now it was up to the prosecutors to do their work,” he said. “They assured me everything would be done in accordance with the law.”

He said that the Burmese embassy also sent a letter to Thailand’s Foreign Ministry last week urging the Thai government to take the case seriously and to impose appropriate punishment on the perpetrators of the various crimes committed against the child.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the Karen Network for Culture and Environment submitted a letter to Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra urging her to take immediate action in the case.

Nai Wai Ying, the network’s coordinator, was quoted by the Thai-language Hedlomnews newspaper on Tuesday as saying that the group is worried that the case will soon be forgotten, as often happens when the victim is a foreign national.

Burmese migrants in Thailand frequently suffer from discrimination and right abuses in Thailand, but such cases seldom result in a satisfactory court judgment, according to labor activists. In most instances, they say, the issue is swept under the rug after an initial period of media attention in extreme cases.

Naing Htun, who formerly worked at the Burmese embassy in Bangkok, echoed this concern, saying that he has seen the same thing happen many times in the past.

“I’m worried that this case will also disappear in the near future, because we have experienced many such incidents before,” he said.

A Burmese official working with migrant workers in Thailand also said that there is a real danger that justice won’t be done in this case.

“Whenever rights abuses happen, the Thais tend to be quiet and then forget about them after a while. We used to hire lawyers in labor disputes or abuse cases, but in the end, we Burmese always lost in court,” he said.


7 Responses to Abused Girl Heads for Hospital, as Thai Police Hunt for Couple

  1. “I asked the police about the couple’s release on bail, but they said they had already gathered enough evidence, and now it was up to the prosecutors to do their work,” he said. “They assured me everything would be done in accordance with the law.”

    This is typical of the nonsense Thai officials will spout when confronted by anything resembling the dreaded ‘WHY’ question. Several bloggers in Thailand have suggested that the child torturers are ‘connected’ and so were allowed to quietly slip away the minute the halfwit judge signed the release order. But this is one pair that’s not going to be forgotten. Social networks are on this big time. It’s only a matter of time….

  2. This is totally unacceptable; justice delayed is justice denied. The head of the police, judge and everyone involved with the setting of bail for the Thai couple, Nathee Taeng-orn, 35, and Rattanakorn Piyavoratharm, 33, of Kamphaeng Phet must be held responsible for their poor decision. No amount of money is going to bring back the 12 year Old’s insanity.

  3. Is the Thai police hunting the criminal couple or helping them to escape? They should not be allowed to get out of jail with bail in the first place. Everyone predicted that they would run and hide. Now, it is what exactly happening. The Thai police is now pretending that it is chasing to catch them back. What a joke it is!

  4. We should treated Thais the same in Burma (quiet when this kind of case arise, no cooperation or whatsoever, and forget about them). Simply apply reciprocal relationship. This is not just happening to foreign nationals in Thailand, even within the Thai community, money always win. There is no rule of law and justice system is down to minimum. For the rights abuses, Thailand is in Tier 2 watch. If it is further down, they are done. Forget about all the donors money. So keep it up Thailand.

  5. This will be a landmark case. There is no way escape from the justice.
    All corrupted polices, judges and authorities are now wary of implications in this case as
    the Karen Network group has already brought the attention and made an appeal to the Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to pressure Thai police to catch fugitive couple.

    The the girl is now in good hands and receiving proper medical treatments in Bangkok . Thai government would pay all costs. ( Based on Bangkok Post Newspaper). What a wonderful and beautiful people.

    Thank to Thai Government , Burmese Embassy in Bangkok and all parties who are helping the girl back to normal life.

    hopefully, the criminal will be arrested very soon.

  6. This is totally unacceptable; justice delayed is justice denied. The head of the police, judge and everyone involved with the setting of bail for the Thai couple, Nathee Taeng-orn, 35, and Rattanakorn Piyavoratharm, 33, of Kamphaeng Phet must be held responsible for their poor decision. No amount of money is going to bring back the 12 year Old’s sanity.

  7. This is totally unacceptable; the Judge, the prosecutor, the police and the Thai Government are part and parcel to this heinous crime, if no action is taken to bring the perpetrators to justice.

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