‘Evil man from Krabi’: Thai image protectionism goes horribly wrong

In late October a YouTube video titled “Evil man from Krabi” was uploaded which describes an incident where a woman was assaulted and raped by a Thai tour guide earlier this summer in the Southern resort town of Ao Nang, Krabi province. It then turns into an English-language music video that repeats the accusations and calls for justice (the man in the video is the victim’s father). The suspect was arrested by the local police (a full month after the sexual assault), but was released on bail soon after.

Ever since this video was reported by Thai media last week, it went viral: the view counts have quadrupled and are now over 400,000 as of writing. However, the reactions by Thai officials have been anything but supportive of the father’s plea. Instead…

It is possible to block from viewing in Thailand a YouTube video clip produced by the father of a Dutch girl who was reportedly raped in Krabi, permanent secretary of the Tourism and Sports Ministry Suwat Sitthilor said yesterday. (…)

In addition, a video clip promoting Thailand as a tourism destination will be produced and distributed among ambassadors of many countries, including the Netherlands, Australia, UK and China, he added.

Blocking of Krabi video considered“, The Nation, November 10, 2012

Damage control for the sake of Thailand’s tourism is far more important to those in charge than the allegations of rape or reassurance that crimes against tourists will be properly investigated. As for the video – the numbers speak for themselves.

This dangerous disconnection of justice and protection of the country’s image by Thai officials has led to this unbelievable comment by the Tourism Minister:

Tourism Minister Chumphol Silapa-archa had said earlier that the incident could not be considered rape. He quoted provincial tourism police chief, Pol Maj-General Loi Ingkhaphairoj as saying: “The woman had dinner with the Thai suspect and a foreign man*. Later, she told the foreign man to return to the hotel before heading off with the suspect.”

Blocking of Krabi video considered“, The Nation, November 10, 2012

The victim’s boyfriend has denied that all three have dined together before the assault.

Chumpol’s horribly crass and irrational conclusion shows no remorse or not a single sign of sympathy to the victim, but instead even resorts to blaming the victim: she apparently knew her assailant and willingly left with him, so it couldn’t have been possibly rape, according to Chumpol’s logic.

Meanwhile, to further emphasize the video’s negative effect and to distract from the serious allegation itself, there have been reports that “a number of Western tourists have cancelled their bookings” in Ao Nang – there could be even more soon thanks to the awful, haphazard response to the allegations by the Thai authorities.

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