A Thai court has sentenced five Cambodian fishermen to 50 years each for a violent February 2016 attack on French tourists in which two women were raped and two men beaten, an official said yesterday.
The men were given the maximum allowable sentence on a raft of charges, including rape, following their arrest more than two years ago for the attack on the Thai island Koh Kut, also known as Koh Kood, in Trat province.
The five men were arrested by Thai authorities shortly after the assault on the remote Thai island near the border with Cambodia.
“All five defendants were found guilty of rape, light assault and serious assault,” a court official in Thailand’s Trat province told AFP, adding that they were also fined.
One was also convicted of attempted murder, said the official, who did not identify the defendants by name.
The secluded and underdeveloped island of Koh Kut is close to Thailand’s eastern border with Cambodia, and police say the men swam to the beach to attack the group of four French holiday-goers at knife point in February 2016.
Officials at the Cambodian embassy in Bangkok could not be reached for comment yesterday.
But in 2016, several days after the attack, the Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that the five Cambodians admitted to the crime.
“During the interview with the Cambodian ambassador, the five fishermen confessed to their involvement in the cases of rape and assault,” the ministry said at the time.
The men allegedly confessed to Cambodian Ambassador to Thailand Eat Sophea and were identified as Jern, 25, Lim, 25, Pai, 22, Thi, 20, and Bot Man, 20.
The five fishermen had been drinking on their fishing boat that night, about 300 metres from the shore of Koh Kut.
They then ran out of alcohol and swam to shore to buy more. Arriving on the beach, they ran across four French tourists who were walking to dinner. They drew the victims into conversation before attacking them with knives and sticks.
Two of the tourists were raped and critically wounded and the other two ran back to their hotel to call for help. But the suspects had already fled by the time help arrived.
However, three of them were arrested a day later while the other two were arrested while attempting to cross the border into Koh Kong province shortly after.
The Foreign Ministry at the time said that they instructed the Cambodian Ambassador to Thailand to seek legal representation for the fishermen.
Chum Sounry, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman, said yesterday that the ministry has instructed the Cambodian embassy in Bangkok to continue providing legal and consular assistance to the five Cambodians.