Clumsy attempts to mend Thailand’s image, after a video about the rape of a 19-year-old Dutch model in the Thai Province of Krabi went viral on the internet, looked set to backfire today.

This follows a statement by Tourism Minister Chumphol Silapa-archa, who was today reported in the Nation newspaper in Bangkok as saying the incident at the end of July could not be considered rape.

And the reason he gave for making that statement was that Police Major General Loi Inghaphairoj stated: “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.”

If that statement is true there are fears that some authorities may have taken a ‘sulking’ attitude to the music video ‘Evil Man in Krabi’ and are now actively supporting the defendant.

But worse it confirms some people’s worst fears that Thai police believe that eating or drinking in the company of a Thai man is tantamount to an invitation to sex.

Kirsty Jones

No such statement has come from the Thai police since the rape and murder of Kirsty Jones in a Chiang Mai guest house in 2000. 

Then there was a furious foreign backlash after a police officer in the investigation was quoted as saying Ms. Jones, aged 23, was a probably a willing participant to sex and only only objected when her attacker began to anally rape her.

Her attacker has never been found.

The Nation in Bangkok also reported Suwat Sitthilor, the permanent secretary of the Tourism and Sports Ministry, as saying: “I am now consulting with the Information and Communications Technology Ministry about the possibility of blocking the video from being viewed in Thailand.”

And he said 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.

 Krabi police may also be making their own video to present their side of the case.

In fact the established facts are that the father of the Dutch model has never actually attacked the Royal Thai Police. This news line has only appeared in the Thai media.

What he has attacked is the Thai justice system which provides easy bail for people charged with serious offences.

No prostitutes sign at Chang Bar Ao Nang

Further, on the night in question the Dutch model went out to dinner with her boyfriend – not a foreigner and the tourist guide charged with raping her.

The boyfriend left the Chang Bar in Ao Nang early because he was tired and his girlfriend, who was celebrating her 19th birthday, said she felt safe to return home later on her own.

The girl’s father has not promoted his video in Holland. He said this was a Thai issue.

“I have been asked but refused to give interviews to television news shows and chat shows in Amsterdam. I just want justice for my daughter.”

He is expected to make a statement later today. It is understood he is aware of the latest allegations made by the Tourism and Sports Minister and Royal Thai Police and it is not beyond the realms of possibility that he might now be composing another song about attitudes to rape and sexual abuse.

In the case of media coverage of foreigners being attacked in Thailand – notably a case where a young international school teacher was attacked on the Sky train in Bangkok after breaching rules and bringing balloons along with his six year old daughter, and another where a jet ski boss was caught in Phuket ripping of British Royal Marines – there is often a media fuelled backlash against foreigners.

(Thai understanding of the west and western tourists’ understanding of Thailand is incongruous at the best of times. At some level Thai men think all foreign women are ‘up for it’ and western men vice-versa in regards to Thai women. This seems to be confirmed to some by Thailand’s thriving sex industry, western pornography, and from the Thais point of view the loose behaviour ‘in public’ of many western tourists and some local foreign residents.)

The plan to block the video to Thai viewers could send the already viral video through the roof as foreigners log in to see what the fuss is about. Most people in Thailand following this story have already seen it.

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