PATTAYA – The three Thai men charged with raping and robbing two Russian tourists in the early hours of Boxing Day in Chon Buri last year have been slapped with jail terms of between 21 and 46 years.
The Pattaya Provincial Court on Wednesday sentenced the defendants ― Wichian Jaija, 36, Thongcai Jandee, 21, and Anuwat Wat-on, 33 ― to 41 years, 21 years and six months and 46 years and six months in prison respectively.The Russian victims had been kidnapped while walking on Pratumnak Hill and taken to a deserted area and assaulted. One Russian victim, age 31, is a doctor in a Moscow hospital. The other victim, age 32, is an office worker for a well-known Russian company.
Judge Apichart Themnoo said the case received worldwide media attention and damaged the country’s tourism image as the defendants had committed a crime against foreign visitors.
The court’s judicial process, he said, was aimed at making it easier for citizens and foreign tourists to give evidence by holding deposition hearings to speed up legal proceedings and to build confidence in the Thai justice system for tourists visiting Thailand, he said.
A deposition hearing involves testifying under oath before a judge or officer of the court, which normally happens if a witness is unable to attend the main hearing.
Wichian, Thongcai and Anuwat were arrested one week after they allegedly abducted, raped and robbed the Russians, identified by police only as Maria and Anastasia.
The victims told police they were walking to their hotel in south Pattaya when they were forced into a pickup truck by a man armed with a gun and a knife. Two other men were waiting inside the vehicle.
The men drove off and stopped at a deserted security guard booth near a reservoir in Bang Lamung district. The group forced them to undress at gunpoint and then raped them.
The assailants abandoned them and left with their belongings, including two smartphones and several thousand baht in cash, according to police. (Bangkok Post Story Here)