BANGKOK – The Karen Network for Culture and Environment on Wednesday called on Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to pressure police to catch a fugitive Thai couple wanted for abducting, enslaving and torturing a young Karen girl.
The couple jumped bail and failed to turn up for questioning in Kamphaeng Phet on Monday.
Waiying Thongbue, coordinator of the network, said in Chiang Mai province that the actions of Nathee Dangoon, 35, and his wife Rattanakorn Piyaworathamwas, 33, of Kamphaeng Phet province, were atrocious.
Mr Waiying submitted a letter to Ms Yingluck through the Chiang Mai governor.
He said the network wanted authorities to quickly arrest the pair and bring them to justice.
The two, who ran a dog care business, are accused of abducting the girl known as Air, whose real name is not being revealed, when she was seven years old from a farm in Kamphaeng Phet on May 20, 2008, and taking her to their house.
Air, who only recently escaped, told police that the pair physically abused her by keeping her in a dog cage, dousing her with hot water, scalding her skin and leaving scars on her body.
Pol Col Akkarasorn Srisupat, superintendent of Muang police station in Kamphaeng Phet, said Air had been taken to Ramathibodi Hospital in Bangkok so doctors and cosmetic surgeons can examine her thoroughly.
Government spokesman Tossaporn Serirak said doctors believed it would take six months to two years to heal the girl’s injuries. The government would pay all costs, he added.
Assoc Prof Dr Arthi Kruavit, a cosmetic surgeon, said Air’s body is almost completely covered with scar tissue. She could not raise or move her left arm because the wounds on the upper arm are attached to the side of her chest.
He said the girl will undergo skin grafts so she can use her left arm normally again.
“Air still has poor psychological health and she doesn’t talk much to visitors and remains depressed. Doctors will treat her psychological trauma,” the surgeon said.
The 12-year-old returned to the Kamphaeng Phet Child and Family Emergency Home after the diagnosis.
Pol Lt Gen Wanchai Thanatkit, chief of Police Region 6, said teams of officers had been dispatched to different areas to track down Nathee and Rattanakorn.
“We’ve received some tip-offs and we know that the couple are not hiding in Kamphaeng Phet and that they are still in Thailand,” he said.
“The problem is one of their relatives, who is a soldier in Prachin Buri province, is trying to help them escape,” Pol Lt Gen Wanchai said.
He said he expected the two would be arrested in the next two or three days.
Police have obtained arrest warrants and placed a 100,000 baht bounty on the couple, who face seven charges, including slavery, torture, forced labour and child trafficking.