PHANG NGA — Twenty-nine of 40 people accused of gang raping a minor last year are still at large as of Tuesday morning, police said.
The case surfaced in September when a 14-year old girl came forward to accuse 40 men in the village of Ko Raet of gang raping her in 2016. Police said Tuesday that only 11 of those have been indicted as they continue searching for the remaining suspects.
“All of the 11 men have been indicted on several charges, including gang rape,” Lt. Col. Kittiphum Thinthalang of Khokkloi police in Phang Nga said Tuesday.
If convicted of raping a child under 15, the men face four to 20 years in prison and fines of 8,000 baht to 40,000 baht.
The victim said that 40 men, mostly those from her community, broke into her home, abducted her and raped her repeatedly. She also claimed that the men raped other girls from the village.
Chanon Abdullah, president of the Muslims for Peace Foundation – a nonprofit providing legal assistance to the girl and her family – said Tuesday that the victim was currently under witness protection.
“Police are still finding them. But it will be more difficult to find these men because she doesn’t know their real names,” Chanon said of the 29 suspects still at large.
There was uproar in the village when the story first broke, with many accusing the girl of lying.
“The people in the village are now starting to believe the girl,” Chanon said. “It’s because of the information and evidence that’s come to light as well as the court’s decision [to prosecute the suspects]. So that’s as it should be.”