5 Cambodians nabbed for rape, assault on French tourists in Thailand
FIVE Cambodian fishermen have been arrested for a brutal attack on four French tourists and raping the two women in the group on the isolated island of Koh Kut in eastern Thailand, police said yesterday.
It is the latest high-profile assault on foreign tourists in Thailand, which was visited by more than a record 28 million people from abroad last year.
Koh Kut, where the four French holidaymakers were attacked late on Saturday, is an under-developed island close to Cambodia's western border and 60 minutes away from the mainland by speedboat.
The attackers, who had been drinking, allegedly swam about 300m from their fishing boat to Koh Kut intending to buy more alcohol, but ended up assaulting the group, the Bangkok Post quoted the police as saying.
One of the two injured male victims escaped to a nearby hotel to raise the alarm.
Meanwhile, the women, one aged 57 and the other 28, were raped at knifepoint and severely assaulted before a car passed by, prompting the attackers to flee, the Post reported.
Three of the suspects were arrested on Sunday morning. They were hiding in a forest on Koh Kut following a manhunt by around 50 soldiers, marine police, villagers and staff from the tourists' hotel, the Nation newspaper reported.
The other two were arrested hours later at a border checkpoint for crossing into south-west Cambodia's Koh Kong province.
The attack took place about 1km from the resort where the four tourists were staying, the police said.
"They (the attackers) all confessed and police have already brought them to do a re-enactment (of the crimes)," Thai police Major-General Nopparat Rinthaphol told Agence France-Presse.
The alleged assailants, aged between 20 and 25, have all been charged with rape and violent assault, while the victims have been taken to a hospital on the mainland.
National Police Chief General Chakthip Chaijinda travelled to Koh Kut yesterday to personally question the suspects, Thai news media reported.
Koh Kut, whose population is about 2,200, is a popular destination for European backpackers,
A number of grisly and violent crimes against foreigners has sullied Thailand's reputation as a tourist haven.
In September last year, two Myanmar migrant workers were sentenced to death for the 2013 murder of two British backpackers, one of whom was raped on the diving island of Koh Tao in the western part of the Gulf of Thailand, AFP reported.