Chonburi police say as many as 10 young boys may have been molested by a school coach arrested last week for allegedly raping three of his students.
Sitthipan Sawangwan, 41, was taken into custody by police in Sri Racha District after a parent of one of the alleged victims filed a complaint against him.
During questioning, the skipping rope coach, who also scouted young boys for roles in soap operas on television, admitted to grooming and raping the boys, according to a senior police officer.
Police said their investigations have indicated that seven other youngsters could have been raped by the coach.
“Teachers are meant to have our children’s best interests at heart but this man has violated our trust and preyed on our children,” a local posted anonymously on social media about the case.
In recent months and years, there have been several lurid cases of teachers, who are accorded automatic respect by most Thais, sexually abusing children in their care.
Last month a 52-year-old physical education teacher who worked at a school in the province of Kamphaeng Phet in northern Thailand was arrested for allegedly raping a female student over an eight-year period starting from the time when she was just 13.
The teacher allegedly made a video recording of himself raping the girl in order to force her into silence by threatening to release the recording online if she told anyone of the abuse.
He also made her pregnant on two occasions and forced her to have abortions, police said.
In a similar case in 2020, a disadvantaged 14-year-old girl was molested and raped repeatedly over a one-year period by five of her teachers and two male students at a school in Mukdahan province in northeastern Thailand, according to police.
A 16-year-old girl at the same school was likewise abused by some of the same perpetrators.
The two girls were raped on numerous occasions for around a year starting from March 2019 and the perpetrators recorded some of the sex acts on their mobile phones.
They warned the victims that they would distribute the recordings online if they told anyone. Shamed into silence this way, the girls continued to endure repeated abuse, investigators said.
Rapes and other forms of sexual abuse remain widespread in Thailand, where the Ministry of Justice recently proposed a draft Violence-Related Reoffending Prevention Bill, which would make it legal to chemically castrate sexual predators in order to stop them from reoffending.
In several countries such as South Korea, Pakistan and Norway, repeat offenders convicted of serious sexual crimes can be castrated by law or else local authorities are considering doing so.
“One must consider chemically castrating all those convicted of sexual assault against children,” said Per-Willy Amundsen, a former justice and emergency minister in Norway, adding that “all measures should be considered” against “pedophile monsters.”
The government is considering a similarly drastic measure because more than 1,000 convicted sex offenders went on to commit further rapes and other crimes of a sexual nature during the first year after their release from prison, according to the Department of Corrections.
Around 1,700 of men convicted of sexual crimes reoffended within two years of being released while more than 2,100 reoffended within three years.
The original version of this story appeared in UCA News, a Bangkok Herald partner.