Man held for rape of woman, 65

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Thai police on Monday arrested a construction worker on suspicion of raping a 65-year-old Swiss woman who had recently moved to a beach resort in southern Thailand.

Banphot Saardiem, 34, was charged with rape, assault and robbery of the foreign woman on the night of April 16 at her newly acquired home in Cha-am, 120 kilometres south-west of Bangkok.

“If found guilty of all three charges, he will probably get life in jail,” said Police Lieutenant Colonel Chetha Onsood, of Cha-am police station.

Banphot confessed to breaking in to the victim's house in the middle of the night to steal her valuables.

When the woman awoke, they struggled and Banphot hit her on the head with his fake gun until she passed out and he raped her, Banphot told police.

The construction worker, a Cha-am native, had previously served a 18-month prison sentence for molesting a 40-year-old woman.

Cha-am, a beach resort on the Gulf of Thailand, has become a popular retirement destination for wealthy Thais and foreigners in recent years.

The woman, who was recovering in hospital, had purchased a home in the resort in January and had moved in a month ago, Chetha said. - Sapa-dpa

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