The Nonthaburi provincial court yesterday afternoon (Sept 26) issued arrest warrants for house owner Chaiyaphon Panna, 29; his brother Nathee Sathitpongsathaporn, 33; Mr Chaiyaphon’s wife Phikulthong Boonpha, 24; Kritsada Lohidee, 27; Ms Pathanan Raksakul, 26; and Koset Ritnitiruek, 35, for illegal assembly and colluding in indecent assault.
Four of the suspects were later arrested. Police were searching for Mr Kritsada and Ms Pathanan.
Pol Maj Gen Thanayut Wutthicharasthamrong, deputy chief of the Provincial Police Region 1, said police were interrogating the four new suspects and samples would be taken for DNA testing.
Thai media reported the court approved the warrants after traces of semen were found on underwear, shorts and a blanket seized from the party house.
Another product presenter, identified only as “Deer”, filed a complaint with Bang Bua Thong police in Nonthaburi that she woke up naked at the house in Bang Bua Thong district on Sept 17 with no idea what happened to her.
Atchariya Ruangrattanapong, chairman of the Help Crime Victim Club, escorted her to the police station to file the complaint.
Like Thitima “Lunlabelle” Noraphanpipat, the young woman had been hired to serve drinks at the house, working from between 10pm on Sept 16 to 3am on Sept 17. Thitima left the party earlier that evening after finishing work.
Thitima, 25, was found dead early on Sept 17 in the lobby of a condominium building in the Talat Phlu area where her co-worker Rachadech “Nam Oun” Wongthabutr lives.
An autopsy found Thitima had died from alcohol poisoning.
On Wednesday, police arrested Rachadech, 25, at a petrol station in Thon Buri district and charged him with unlawfully detaining Thitima in a way that caused her death, sexual assault, and committing an act of indecency.
Mr Rachadech was caught on security camera footage carrying an unconscious Thitima into the condo building on the evening of Sept 16 and hours later placing her on a sofa in the lobby where a security guard later found her dead body.
Lunlabelle's death spurs anti-booze drive
A group of anti-alcohol activists on Wednesday urged the government to improve working conditions for promotional models, or “pretties”, in the wake of the tragic death of Thitima.
At an event held to mark the death of Lunlabelle, Naiyana Suphapueng, director of the Teeranat Foundation, which works to promote human rights and gender equality, said women who work in the service industry face many forms of abuse and harassment by customers and employers, including unwelcome sexual advances.
“In many cases, they are also pressured to drink excessive amounts of alcohol to please customers,” she said.
Ms Naiyana said Thais tend to look down on female service workers who work in bars and nightclubs.
Many people think these women knowingly put themselves at risk or in situations in which men could treat them badly.
“We need to get rid of this kind of attitude. Female service workers deserve to be afforded the same dignity and respect as any other women,” she said.
Ms Naiyana said there should be laws, a labour union and a campaign to protect the many thousands of women currently working in this profession from being exploited and abused.
“Policymakers at the top must consider the problems at ground level and deliver measures to provide a better working environment where female service workers can work without risk to their health and safety,” she said.
Speaking at the event, “A”, a former service worker who requested anonymity, said she and her friends had experienced sexual harassment many times while they were working as beer pretties.
“It’s not easy to avoid this kind of incident because most customers in bars are under the influence of alcohol and forget themselves.
“Once I was groped by men who looked drunk. I felt disgusted and wanted to leave but I couldn’t because I didn’t want to cause a problem for my employers or lose my job,” she said.
“A” said most service workers choose not to seek help out of fear of being stigmatised and because they are ashamed.
“When women who work at night get harassed, we are not treated with the same empathy as other female victims.
“I want to say that we are also just ordinary people who are trying to make a living, so people should treat us with respect, the same as they do with people in other professions,” she said.
Pongsatorn Chartpitak, deputy director of the Office of the Alcoholic Beverage Control, said his agency had reports of bars and nightclubs using promotions such as beer drinking competitions and beer buffets to encourage customers to drink more.
“This is a worrying trend and it’s against the law. Business operators should know what’s right and wrong. Drinking too much too quickly can affect your breathing, heart rate, body temperature and gag reflex and potentially lead to coma and death.
“We need to raise awareness about the danger of drinking large amounts of alcohol in short periods of time,” he said.