4 August 2020
Phra Nakon Si Ayutthaya Provincial Court convicts and sentences Kittipong ‘Golf’ Yapatang to 12 years, 16 months and 20 days, ordering him to provide 273,500 baht to Myanmar domestic worker for compensation
For offence against life, rape by doing any act of violence and attempted murder
On 20 May 2020, the Phra Nakon Si Ayutthaya Provincial Court read the verdict on the Black Case no. Or 108/2563, Red Case no. Or 309/2563 between the public prosecutor and injured person who is a Myanmar woman as co-plaintiff v. Mr. Kittipong ‘Golf’ Yapatang for “rape by doing any act of violence and by taking advantage of the woman being in the condition of inability to resist and attempted murder.”
Based on the evidence, it is imperative for the Court to adjudicate the following issues;
- Did the defendant commit the crime as alleged?
- The offence concerning the detainment or confinement of the other person, or by any other means whatever, the deprivation of liberty of such person and rape by doing any act of violence and by taking advantage of the woman being in the condition of inability to resist is not an offence that warrants an imprisonment of at least five years or more severe punishment. But since the defendant has pleaded guilty as charged, the Court is convinced the defendant had committed such offence
- The offence of attempted murder The Court has found the testimony – about the defendant’s luring of the injured person to in front of the toilet, the physical abuse against her, the rape, and the strangling with rope – given by the plaintiff and the co-plaintiff is coherent. The testimony also corresponds to forensic evidence as a result of the examination of the wounds. Since there is no reason to suspect that the co-plaintiff’s motive to falsely implicate defendant, the Court holds that the co-plaintiff has given evidence based on facts. The evidence adduced by the plaintiff and the co-plaintiff satisfies the Court that the defendant has committed an act of attempted murder as charged. The shoestrings and belt as incriminating evidence shall be forfeited per the Penal Code’s Section 33 (1).
The Court sentences the defendant to 12 years, 16 months and 20 days and orders the forfeiture of the shoestrings and belt.
- Whether the defendant can be held accountable to compensate the co-plaintiff or not and to what extent? The Court has found sufficient evidence has been acquired to prove guilt of the defendant as charged. Since the defendant’s wrongful act is an offence against the co-plaintiff, he is therefore responsible to provide compensation to her. But as to what extent the compensation should be, since the co-plaintiff invokes the right to give evidence as witness.
- The co-plaintiff has sustained injuries on her face, eyes, and body. She is required to spend seven days in hospital. Her denture is damaged, and she needs to have it redone which requires that she has to travel to Bangkok. It costs her for both medical and travel costs around 50,000 In addition, the co-plaintiff has been subjected to such depression and trauma which require her to continue receiving the treatment until now. She wants to be paid for such medical expense which amounts to around 50,000 baht.
The co-plaintiff demands 100,000 baht to cover both existing and future medical costs. Even though the co-plaintiff could not produce receipts that match the amount requested, but given the circumstance and gravity of the case, the Court is convinced that the compensation requested for by the co-plaintiff at 100,000 baht is reasonable.
- For the physical abuse against the co-plaintiff and her confinement, the co-plaintiff demands a compensation of 200,000 baht for the deprivation of liberty.
- The co-plaintiff demands compensation of 100,000 baht for the injury caused by rape.
The Court has found that the damages demanded by the co-plaintiff for the deprivation of her liberty and for the rape are non-monetary. The Court deems it fit that she should be paid for both at 100,000 baht (whereas the co-plaintiff demands 300,000 baht).
- The co-plaintiff is unable to do her work as the eyesight in both her eyes have been compromised as a result of the defendant’s physical abuse. This has caused her a loss of income. Since prior to the incident, the co-plaintiff could earn 10,500 baht a month, she demands compensation for the loss of income for seven months at 73,500
The Court has found the co-plaintiff demands the compensation since the day the offence was committed until the day the request has been filed with the Court and agrees to the compensation of 73,500 baht.
The Court thus orders the defendant to offer 273,500 baht plus 7.5% interest per annum to the co-plaintiff as compensation counted from the day the offence was committed (31 July 2019) until the amount is paid off.
After the final verdict has been reached, on 23 July 2020, HRDF’s staff have accompanied the injured person to collect compensation for the aggrieved parties in criminal cases from the Ministry of Justice’s Rights and Liberties Protection Department including the loss of income for 2,240 baht and compensation for other injuries for 40,000 baht, altogether 42,240 baht.
In this case, Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF) has offered legal representation to the injured person who is a migrant worker from Myanmar. Acting Sub Lt. Wichaan Thamrai, a staff member of HRDF has been authorized by the co-plaintiff as attorney in this case.
Mr. Somchai Homlaor, Chairperson of Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF) says that the Civil and Commercial Code’s Section 438 stipulates that the Court shall determine the compensation according to the circumstance and gravity of the wrongful act. Since injuries from the violation of human rights and other rights and freedoms inflicted on the injured person including rape victims are non-monetary and there is no clear guidelines to help the Court to determine the extent of the compensation, the Court therefore tends to agree merely to one thirds of the amount requested by the injured person.
The Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF) deems that injuries from the violation of human rights, mental trauma and the violation of freedoms and rights are severe, particularly in sexual violation cases. The Court of Justice should therefore consider setting out guidelines to determine compensation that covers mental damage and other which stem from the violation of human rights. This should help judges to determine proper compensation. Meetings could be held among concerned parties from both private and state sectors to propose guidelines for the such compensation based on human rights.
Background of the case
On 15 September 2019 it was reported on an online news outlet that “Myanmar girl was raped by a Thai male. He also strangled her with ropes trying to kill her and conceal evidence. The Myanmar girl narrowly survived the ordeal. But after a week, there was no progress of the case… The woman is a Karen domestic worker in a factory. A Myanmar national, after the physical abuse, she was also sexually assaulted. Then the perpetrator tried to kill her by strangling her with ropes to conceal the evidence. The victim managed to run away and called for help. Even though the case has been reported to the police, but there has been no progress until now…According to reports, the Thai male was speculated to have fled to stay with his relatives.” The news stirred up much interest among migrant workers from Myanmar who work in Thailand since it concerns physical abuse against migrant workers. Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF) has received the complaint from the injured person and has proceeded to offer her legal representation and assistance as well as to demand civil compensation related to the criminal case.
For more information, please contact Acting Sub Lt. Wichan Thamrai, attorney Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF)
Phone: 063-579-6989, E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org