Thai couple charged with enslaving girl

Feb. 20, 2013 at 3:38 PM
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BANGKOK, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- A girl allegedly enslaved and tortured for five years is covered with scars and suffers from severe psychological problems, doctors in Thailand said Wednesday.

A couple who operated a dog-care business in Kamphaeng Phet province allegedly abducted the girl, identified only as Air, in 2008, the Bangkok Post reported. She was allegedly kept in a cage and tortured with scalding water.

Nathee Dangoon, 35, and his wife Rattanakorn Piyaworathamwas, 33, failed to appear for questioning Monday and are considered fugitives, the Post said.

Air is a Karen, a member of an ethnic minority who live mostly on the border with Myanmar, formerly called Burma. The Karen Network for Culture and the Environment urged Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to ensure that her alleged captors are arrested promptly.

Government spokesman Tossaporn Serirak said Air will need six months to two years of physical treatment. He said all expenses will be paid by the government.

Dr. Arthi Kruavit, a cosmetic surgeon at Ramathibodi Hospital in Bangkok, said Air cannot move her left arm because it is attached to her body by scar tissue, and she will need extensive skin grafts to regain the use of the arm.

"Air still has poor psychological health and she doesn't talk much to visitors and remains depressed. Doctors will treat her psychological trauma," he said.

Air is now in the Kamphaeng Phet Child and Family Emergency Home.

Police Lt. Gen. Wanchai Thanatkit said Nathee and Rattanakorn have a relative in the military who may be helping them escape. He said police believe the couple are still in Thailand and hope to arrest them within a few days.

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