Model arrested in widely publicised Thai case

BANGKOK (AP) – Police in Thailand yesterday arrested a male model accused of taking an unconscious woman home, boasting online about his sexual exploits, and leaving her lifeless body in the lobby of his building.

Police brought charges of illegal detention leading to death, abduction with intent of committing an indecent act and molestation against 24-year-old Ratchadech Wongtabut in a case that has riveted the attention of the public and press.

The victim, Thitima Noraphanpiphat, 25, made a living as a “pretty”, the term for young women normally hired for events such as auto shows to pose with products they are promoting.

Thitima, who used Lunlabelle as her professional name, was hired to attend a party from which Ratchadech left with her on the night of September 16. A media frenzy over the case has been fuelled by the suspect’s provocative online posts boasting of past conquests, including as he had Thitima in his room, and copious surveillance video showing him carrying the apparently unconscious victim.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Lieutenant General Sutthipong Wongpin said at a news conference yesterday that Ratchadech acknowledged bringing Thitima to his apartment but said he had no intention to do her harm and did not realise that she was dead while she was with him.

Police announced yesterday that an autopsy found that Thitima had died from extreme alcohol intoxication, citing a blood alcohol concentration of 418 milligrammes per 100 milliliters.