A campaign calling for capital punishment for rapists went viral on Thai social networks after a man confessed to raping and killing a 13-year-old girl on a train.
“‘Once you’re gonna reform Thailand, may I propose “RAPE = EXECUTION”
Cut their dicks off 2 years before giving them the death sentence. No trial need, if they’re the real criminals,” wrote Poj Arnon, a Thai film director.
Dozens of Thai celebrities on Tuesday shared messages urging the Thai junta to amend the punishment for rapists to capital punishment after Wanchai Sangkhao, 22, confessed that he raped and killed a 13-year-old girl and threw her body out of the window of a train.
The girl took a night train from southern Surat Thani to Bangkok on Saturday 5 July 2014, with her older sister and the sister’s boyfriend. Her sister reported the girl’s disappearance to the authorities on Sunday morning. The bedding and belongings of the girl also disappeared.
The authorities found the body of the girl on Tuesday morning near the railway line in Pranburi District, Prachuap Khiri Khan Province. Wanchai, who was subcontracted by the State Railway of Thailand, confessed that he raped the girl after he got high on amphetamines and beer.
Meanwhile, Wanchai’s Facebook has been deluged with condemnations.
“We won’t let you go to jail. You only have to be executed,” wrote a comment on the suspect’s Facebook account.
Meanwhile, a campaign on Change.org, an online petition platform, called for Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, the coup leader, to amend the punishment for rapists to mandatory capital punishment. After only a couple of days, the campaign has reached over 12,500 signatures.
According to an Amnesty International report "Can capital punishment reduce crime?”, there was no correlation between the use of capital punishment and the crime rate between 2002-2012.
Sutharee Wannasiri, Policy and Advocacy Coordinator at Amnesty International Thailand, said that capital punishment has no effect in increasing or reducing the crime rate, regardless of the type of the crime.
“The effective deterrent to crime is not to increase the severity of the punishment but to reduce the chance that crimes can be committed, such as increasing the number of community observers in a desolate soi and installing more CCTV cameras, and to increase the chance of prosecuting offenders, such as by the speedy arrest of suspects,” the AI activist said.
Currently, Article 277 of the Criminal Code states that whoever commits sexual intercourse with a child not yet over 13 years of age, irrespective of having the consent of the child, shall be liable to imprisonment from 7-20 years and a fine of 14,000-40,000 baht or life imprisonment.
Where the offence involves killing or making the child disabled, the offender shall be liable to imprisonment for life.
For the rape of an adult, an offender shall be liable to imprisonment for 4-20 years and a fine of 8,000-40,000 baht.