Crime & Justice

14 women accuse Thai politician of sexual abuse in high-profile #MeToo scam

Bangkok, Apr 19 (EFE).- Fourteen women have accused Thai politician Prinn Panitchpakdi, former No.2 of the Democratic Party, of sexually abusing and raping them in the most high-profile #MeToo scam in Thailand.

The trickle of complaints against the 44-year-old politician forced him to resign from his position in the party, part of the ruling coalition.

Prinn is the son of Supachai Panitchpakdi, a former Thai deputy prime minister and ex-director-general of the World Trade Organization.

Democrat Party leader and Deputy Prime Minister Jurin Laksanawisit apologized Tuesday for the scandal and promised an investigation.

“I feel very sorry and would like to apologize to the public for the incident related to Prinn Panitchapakdi,” he said.

Jurin said he was stepping down from two government commissions on gender equality and women’s issues.

Sittra Biabungkerd, from the People’s Lawyers Foundation, represents most of the accusers in their legal battle for justice.

Biabungkerd confirmed on his Facebook page that the number of complaints filed against Prinn was 14.

An 18-year-old was the first to speak against the politician when she alleged last week that Prinn touched and kissed her without her consent in a restaurant in Bangkok.

But complaints kept trickling in.

Hathairat “Anna” Thanakitamnuay, a candidate for the upcoming Bangkok city councilor election, also filed a complaint.

However, she withdrew from the polls after filing the complaint with the police.

In her Facebook post over the weekend, she said she pulled out of the race, in which she was running on the Ruam Thai United party ticket in Bangkok’s Suan Luang district.

She said she withdrew to prove that the allegation against Prinn was not politically motivated.

Prinn, a graduate of the prestigious London School of Economics (LSE), resigned last week as the No.2 in the Democratic Party, in which he had a meteoric rise in three years.

He has denied the allegations when questioned by police.

However, more women have come forward to speak against alleged sexual abuse Prinn subjected them to.

So far, the #MeToo movement has had little impact in Thailand, where victims of sexual abuse and rape report having little support from institutions and society.

The #MeToo hashtag was first used by the American activist Tarana Burke 10 years ago.

But it was the American actress Alyssa Milano, who popularized it in 2017 on Twitter, after the sexual scandals of the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

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