The man, named only as “Mr Somsak”, was arrested at a house in Moo 2, Tambon Khuan Klang, Phipun District, Nakhon Si Thammarat Province, yesterday (Aug 16), Phuket Provincial Police announced through a statement.
In response to a post online asking what had happened to the girl, Phuket Provincial Police explained that police became aware that the girl had gone missing when Somsak himself reported her as missing to Chalong Police at about 10pm on Feb 4.
Somsak, 33, told police that the girl was his daughter. She was selling flowers in the Rawai beach area when she disappeared, he said.
Phuket Provincial Police Commander Maj Gen Sermphan Sirikong had ordered Chalong Police Chief Col Ekarat Plaidueng to investigate the girl’s disappearance and provide updates regarding the investigation.
Following investigation by police, Phuket Provincial Court on April 7 issued a warrant for Somsak’s arrest (arrest warrant No. 123/2565), Phuket Provincial Police explained.
Working with officers from Phipun Police in Nakhon Si Thammarat, police arrested Somsak yesterday.
He has now been brought back to Phuket, where he was taken to Chalong Police Station and charged with “taking away a child under fifteen years of age from a parent, guardian or guardian without reasonable cause”.
Phuket Provincial Police did not explain why Somsak had avoided human trafficking and child labour exploitation charges, as were levied on a gang of four arrested in 2019 for operating a criminal child-exploitation operation in Phuket.
The gang forced children as young as 10 years old, skinny and dressed in rags, to work all night selling coconut water in bars and restaurants – or face being beaten.
All four suspects in that case were arrested at their homes in Nakhon Si Thammarat province.