The driver, who police named only as ‘Mr Wimol’, was summoned to Cherng Talay Police Station on Sunday night (May 1), explained the statement issued by Phuket Provincial Police yesterday.
The statement was issued in response to comments posted online, challenging police to investigate the report of the alleged sex assault to ensure Phuket Police were performing their duty to protect tourists, and for the sake of protecting Phuket’s image as a tourist destination.
The girl’s father filed a formal complaint with Cherng Talay Police last Saturday, the same day that the family flew home.
The taxi driver has been accused of inappropriately touching the girl’s thigh while she was a passenger in the taxi. The incident occurred at the parking lot of Central Festival shopping mall in Wichit on Friday (Apr 29), said the complaint.
The Phuket Provincial Police statement issued yesterday explained that the father had indicated that the family did not want to pursue prosecution as they were flying home.
The statement also explained that police were procedurally unable to press charges if the victim herself had not yet filed a complaint.
However, the statement noted that Phuket Provincial Police Commander Maj Gen Sermphan Sirikong had taken an immediate direct interest in the case, and had ordered the Cherng Talay Police Chief to ensure that the complaint was investigated.
Maj Gen Sermphan also presented himself directly to the Australian Consulate-General in Phuket to explain that the girl could still press charges if she chose to.
“If the informant wishes to prosecute, we will proceed by receiving the complaint, investigating and pursuing legal proceedings,” the statement read.
Police have issued a formal notice to the “relevant agencies” to ensure the acts of drivers of a public transport vehicle is appropriate.
“If [the behaviour] is not appropriate, then officers are to proceed in accordance with their powers and duties,” the statement concluded.