POLICE in Thailand’s eastern Gulf coast town of Pattaya have expressed concern over the recent spate of sexual harassment and robbery cases carried out by “gangs” of transgender women in the popular tourist destination.
Their warning came in the wake of the arrest of two ‘ladyboys’ over the weekend in connection to the robbery and assault of Lutz Mohler, a German tourist who suffered severe facial injuries in a vicious attack late last week.
On April 22, Mohler was reported to have suffered blows to his face after being attacked by two people. He was later sent to Pattaya Memorial Hospital for treatment.
According to local news site Pattaya One, Mohler had told reporters that two of the assailants, thought to be trans-women, had approached him to offer a sexual encounter. The tourist was attacked with a brick when he refused the offer, and the assailants had left on a motorcycle, taking with them 4,000 baht (US$132) which belonged to him.
However, the report pointed out discrepancies in Mohler’s account of the story, as his female friend had claimed he had been knocked unconscious for an hour, while the victim said he had seen the attackers flee on the motorbike.
Despite the contrasting versions of the story, police arrested two suspects, Phumin (Nan) Saranat, a 20 year old from Sakolnakorn, and Nopporn (Por) Jitsom, 21, from Chonburi last Saturday for assault and robbery.
Police said such cases involving transsexuals was still rampant despite the 1,000 baht (US$28) fine imposed for sexual harassment.
Colonel Poompanmuang was quoted in The Daily Mail as saying that apart from the fine, there was possible imprisonment for causing serious injury. However, the punishment has not served as a deterrent.
“We can only advise tourists to be very careful about who they speak to late at night and avoid being out and about alone at that time,” he cautioned.
On the same day as the attack on Mohler, a gang of transsexuals in the town had reportedly robbed two tourists of nearly 100,000 baht (US$2,842) in jewelry in two separate incidents.
The cases took place barely half an hour apart in the wee hours of the morning along Pattaya’s landmark Beach Road. The first case involved a 26-year-old Wang Yong, a tourist from China who lost a necklace and diamond ring worth 45,000 Baht (US$1,279) after being approached by a group of four or five transsexuals while walking back to his tour bus.
The gang was said to have groped the victim and offered him sex, but he refused. He later realized he lost the items when he returned to the vehicle.
An identical case was reported to have taken place half an hour later, this time involving Indian tourist Rajendra Gupta, 34, who recounted having experienced the same scenario.
Police have yet to detain the assailants, but were observing security camera footage to identify the suspects.