BANGKOK — Police said Wednesday an arrest warrant had been issued for a man who allegedly sexually assaulted a 23-year-old Australian woman earlier this month.
After authorities and extensive media coverage cast doubt on the woman’s claims, police said the woman was sexually assaulted by Eakaburut Ritrakkhaphan, a 32-year-old motorcycle taxi driver. He was allegedly seen in security camera footage picking up the Australian woman from the Khok Wua junction near Khaosan Road before taking her to the abandoned building she earlier claimed he and a friend attacked her.
Taling Chan police commander Col. Thanawat Taraka said he could not give more details about the suspect because of the ongoing investigation.
On Dec. 5, the 23-year-old Australian tourist told police she had been lured by the driver of a tuk-tuk she had allegedly grabbed to return to the guesthouse where she was staying after drinking at Khaosan Road.
She said the driver, along with a friend waiting at the deserted building in Soi Borommaratchachonnani 43, west of Bangkok, sexually assaulted her. Police cast doubt on her story after social media discussions pressured them into action. They said she was heavily intoxicated and pointed out that she was seen in another security camera kissing another foreign male.
Police also questioned the time frame during which the incident took place, as the woman appeared on the CCTV footage near Khaosan Road 37 minutes before she arrived at the police station.
Bangkok Police Chief Sanit Mahatavorn said they now believed she was raped after it was confirmed by the results of a hospital examination.
The suspect was said to have just been released from prison two months prior after serving a sentence for sexual assault, police spokesman Krissana Pattanacharoen said.