SURAT THANI — A police officer was charged and dismissed from the force on Friday, pending an investigation, for allegedly raping a Myanmar national who was being held at a police station on Koh Samui .
Sergeant Major Watcharin Silpsamosorn was charged with sexual assault and negligence after the family of the 21-year-old Burmese woman filed complaints that he took her out of the holding cell at Bo Phut Police Station and attacked her in his office in the early hours of Wednesday. Watcharin is currently out on bail.
“The officer was brought to the court for a remand hearing, in which the court granted him a bail release,” police spokesman Yingyot Thepchamnong said.
CCTV footage at the Bo Phut Police Station released by investigators to the media also captures the moment Watcharin took out the victim from the jail. The case came to light after the victim’s family alerted the Myanmar Embassy for help, investigators say.
Sexual assault carries a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison.
Apart from the ongoing criminal investigation, Watcharin was also removed from the police force while a disciplinary hearing against him is ongoing, Yingyot said. If found guilty by the committee, Watcharin would be formally fired.
The police spokesman said the victim was recently arrested on drug charges and held at Bo Phut Police Station on Samui island while awaiting her deportation.
Bo Phut police superintendent Yutthana Sirisombat said the woman was questioned by investigators and sent to a hospital for checkup. But she remains in custody as of publication time, instead of being transferred to a rescue center for rape victims.
“We have to keep her there for further questioning,” Col. Yutthana said. “We are doing our best to serve justice to both parties.”