By Teeranai Charuvastra
NONTHABURI — A taxi driver was arrested and accused of robbing and attempting to rape a passenger in northern Bangkok during the Songkran holiday last week, Nonthaburi police announced today.
Patiwat Boonsangiem was denied bail today following his arrest Thursday in Rayong province. His alleged victim, in her 30s, hailed Patiwat’s cab at a hospital in the capital city for a ride to Bangkok Bus Terminal on April 13 to catch a bus to her home province.
Instead of taking her to the terminal, Patiwat allegedly drove her to a wooded area where he attempted to assault her, police said.
According to Susak Parakkamakul, commander of Nonthaburi police force, Patiwat held the victim at knifepoint and tried to rape her but was unable to. Police say that he confessed to later driving her to a motel to attempt another assault.
But when they arrived at the motel, the victim fled the car and alerted staff, who called police for help, Susak said. Patiwat fled the scene but was later arrested in Rayong province, Susak told reporters.
Patiwat also stole 2,000 baht from the victim during the assault, according to Susak.
Speaking to reporters at the police news conference, Patiwat claimed he robbed the victim because he needed money to pay off his debt, and he attempted to assault her because he felt “sexually aroused.”
Patiwat also apologized to the greater community of taxi drivers for staining their reputation.
The arrest came at a time when junta chairman Prayuth Chan-ocha has renewed his pledge to stamp out wrongdoing among the taxi ranks, such as refusing to use meters.