Phongsathon Suwannaraksa, a prominent lawyer with political ambitions, was arrested in Songkhla. He is accused of raping a beautiful 26-year-old woman and leading her to a suicide attempt. He insists their relationship was consensual and vows to fight the case.

A top lawyer with political ambitions before last year’s General Election was arrested in handcuffs on Sunday outside his home in Songkhla. 34-year-old Phongsathon Suwannaraksa has made the news pages previously as a legal advocate for victims of sexual abuse, in particular on behalf of LGBTQ victims at the hands of powerful people. He protested his innocence. Nonetheless, he stands accused of the rape of a beautiful 26-year-old woman in Bangkok last year. In addition, it is alleged that he subjected the woman to a campaign of harassment and bullying. Ultimately, she claims this led her to attempt to take her own life on November 23rd last year. On Monday, senior police with the Metropolitan Police Bureau defended their actions. However, Mr Phongsathon has vowed that this is not the end of the matter as far as he is concerned. He insisted that his relationship with the woman was consensual.

An angry and frustrated Phongsathon Suwannaraksa, or Lawyer Arm, was photographed as he was arrested on Sunday. He was taken into custody by an elite Metropolitan Police Bureau squad led by Police Lieutenant Colonel Thanpirasit Chulphiphob, or Inspector Jae (left). The lawyer vowed that he would resist the case and ultimately prevail.

A crack Metropolitan Police Bureau investigative team was deployed to southern Songkhla province on Sunday morning.

The mission was to serve an arrest warrant on a well-known lawyer, place him under arrest, and transport him back to Bangkok.

The well-known 34-year-old lawyer previously made news in Thailand acting for victims of sexual abuse. However, the background to Criminal Court arrest warrant No. 2055/2024, dated May 3, 2024, is precisely the opposite.

Arrest warrant against Lawyer Arm executed outside his home on Sunday. He is charged with the rape of a good-looking 26-year-old woman who was his client

In short, the warrant against Mr Phongsathon Suwannaraksa, known as ‘Lawyer Arm’ from Hat Yai in Songkhla, alleges that he raped a 26-year-old woman in early 2023.

The story began in 2022 when the 26-year-old complainant sought legal help. In summary, a friend had failed to repay a ฿100,000 loan and she was recommended to Mr Phongsathon. 

Lawyer Arm was well known in Songkhla as a capable legal practitioner. Indeed, so much so that he was pursuing a seat in parliament. The legal activist was courted by the Kla Party, which subsequently merged with the Chart Pattana Kla Party.

Mr Phongsathon appears to have invited his 26-year-old good-looking client to a meeting in Bangkok. The meeting was at a Don Mueang hotel at the same time as a political banquet. 

However, the young woman was surprised that the hotel was so small. In addition, there was no meeting room. Afterwards, she was told by Lawyer Arm to place her personal items in his hotel room.

Lawyer transformed into what the woman told police was a different personality once she entered the hotel bedroom at the hotel to retrieve her belongings

Later, after the event, she returned to the room to pick up her belongings.

In short, as she afterwards related to Metropolitan Police Bureau investigators, she was confronted by a different man. The lawyer, she told officers, changed persona. He roughly manhandled her and, in brief, raped her on the bed.

She did not know how much time had passed before she awoke.

Mr Phongsathon was still asleep but was disturbed as she rummaged for her things. He woke up suddenly and grabbed her arm.

He flung her on the bed again and proceeded to rape her for a second time, according to the victim’s account.

Following this, he pointedly told her that she should not disclose what happened to anyone. In short, he said that the fact that she had entered the room with him was an indication of consent. He suggested that any action on her behalf would lead to his taking legal action.

Indeed, Lawyer Arm followed up on this threat with further messages online and calls.

Woman, at length, decided to file a formal police complaint. It came despite threats and warnings from the lawyer that she would be making a big mistake

Subsequently, the woman agonised over what to do. 

Eventually, she resolved to file a legal complaint with Don Mueang Police Station. After this, the lawyer contacted her and appeared to become more conciliatory.

He suggested he would take responsibility for his actions. In turn, he asked the young woman to suggest what he should pay her as compensation.

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She did so. In turn, he asked her to repeat the amount.

Then he changed course again. In short, he accused the woman of attempting to extort money from him. He reiterated his earlier position that it was a consensual rendezvous between adults.

Lawyer Arm used the screenshot of the woman’s financial demand as evidence.

Consequently, he filed a complaint for extortion. Following this, the lawyer sent the victim a series of messages warning her that she would be imprisoned.

Lawyer Arm filed a report with the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) related to police at Don Mueang Police Station over the case filed against him

In the meantime, Mr Phongsathon, who at this time stoutly claims he is innocent, also took action against the investigative team at Don Mueang Police Station. This took the form of a National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) complaint.

In addition, he filed a civil case against the 26-year-old for ฿300,000 in damages. The receipt of legal proceedings by her late last year was the last straw.

Afterwards, she attempted to commit suicide. In tears to police afterwards, she explained that she was haunted by the desire for revenge on both sides. Firstly, when she received the legal letter, she was in tears.

Her trauma finally led her to attempt suicide at the Sattahip Naval Base in Chonburi. She attempted to jump from the HTMS Chakri Naruebet while at dock. She told police she sought solace in the cool water.

Nevertheless, she did not die. Fortunately, she was rescued by two sailors, Petty Officer 1st Class Daoloi Na Thongchai and Private Kuhat San Samamai. Both dived into the water and rescued the woman who fell.

Woman’s ongoing ordeal taken up by the Metropolitan Police Bureau after her suicide attempt. In brief, this led to an arrest warrant against the lawyer on May 3rd

In the aftermath of that incident, she was pointed in the direction of the Metropolitan Police Bureau.

After that, the case came to the attention of Metropolitan Police Bureau Chief Police Lieutenant General Thiti Saengsawang. In turn, he ordered Police Major General Theeradej Thumsuthee to pursue the matter.

At length, this led to the crack team being sent south, led by Police Lieutenant Colonel Thanpirasit Chulphiphob, or Inspector Jae.

On Sunday morning in Hat Yai, they confronted Lawyer Arm. He was certainly not happy and vowed that the case was an injustice.

At length, he reminded the police officers of the history. He complained that the 26-year-old woman attempted to extort money from him. 

Fuming Lawyer Arm warns arresting officers he will ultimately win this case and the word of the woman concerned should not be believed over his testimony

In short, he insisted she had filed a false police report at the same time. His case, filed with the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), alleges the police in Don Mueang, Bangkok, acted improperly.

Mr Phongsathon vowed that he would win his case. He told the arresting police officers that they should not believe everything the woman says.

At the same time, he pointed out that she had entered his hotel bedroom with him voluntarily on the fateful night.

At length, as the arresting officers insisted on executing the warrant and placing him in cuffs, they asked about the woman’s attempted suicide. In reply, Lawyer Arm said he had little sympathy.

On Sunday, after his arrest, Mr Phongsathon was taken to Bangkok where legal proceedings were processed against him.

Metropolitan Police officers in Bangkok appeal for witnesses and further information relating to the case and activities of Lawyer Arm. Complaint lodged

Subsequently, on Monday, in Bangkok, senior police at the Metropolitan Police Bureau addressed the case. 

In brief, they asked for further witnesses or knowledge of Lawyer Arm to come forward. Certainly, they confirmed that the lawyer had already filed a complaint with Songkhla Provincial Police.

Police Major General Theeradej Thumsuthee pointed out that the Criminal Court had issued an arrest warrant. This was based on police testimony. 

In addition, he said that the law existed to protect people from bullying and should not be used the other way around.

In the meantime, Mr Phongsathon, or Lawyer Arm, has vowed to give up being a lawyer if he fails to vindicate himself in this saga.

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