Former Thai deputy minister faces grilling over 'rape'


BY M. VEERA PANDIAN

BANGKOK: Police are expected to summon Thailand’s former Deputy Interior Minister Sombat Uthaisang, 66, over allegations that he had raped a junior civil servant on Nov 21 last year. 

The woman, Pakaporn Santhalunai, 28, who made a public disclosure of the alleged rape on Monday, has since handed over a frozen semen sample in tissue paper and a stained undergarment, to the Rama Thibodi Hospital for DNA tests. 

Pakaporn, a junior mapping official in the Trat public works office, said she had sought Sombat’s help to collect a 600,000baht (RM53,541) debt that his younger brother, Cherdpong, a senator from the Nong Khai Party, had owed her. 

She said Sombat offered to take her to see Cherdpong at a hotel in Saphan Khwai where the alleged rape took place. In his first public comment, Sombat, who now heads a committee monitoring the progress of Thailand’s new Suvarnabhumi airport, denied knowing the woman.  

Accusing her of harbouring ulterior motives, he pledged to sue her for defamation. “I am prepared to prove my innocence,” he said, urging the police to investigate her for possible blackmail.  

Pakaporn told the local media yesterday that she had kept quiet about the rape because Sombat had made threatening phone calls to her.  

Bangkok’s Crime Suppression Commander Maj-Gen Surasit Sangkapong said police were looking into the records of calls made between the former minister and Pakaporn.  

He said Sombat had not approached police to give his side of the story yet. Policemen yesterday brought Pakaporn to a coffee shop in Chatuchak market where she claimed she had met Sombat on Nov 21, the hotel where she was alleged she was raped and the place where she was dropped off.  

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