Ying Kai wins appeal in child-maid forced labour case

Monta Yokrattanakan, better known as Ying Kai, arrives at the Criminal Court in Bangkok on Tuesday to hear the Appeal Court's acquittal ruling. (Photo by Apichit Jinakul)

The Appeal Court has acquitted Monta Yokrattanakan, aka Ying Kai, of human trafficking, finding no evidence she had forced a girl to work as her maid.

The ruling was read out at the Criminal Court in Bangkok on Tuesday.

The Appeal Court overturned the Criminal Court's judgement of Oct 19, 2017 and sentencing of the 62-year-old woman to three years in jail for human trafficking because she had seized the ID card of the maid, Kanchana Ponglarpsoonthorn, and had not paid her a salary from June 2006 to October 2010.

The Criminal Court had also ordered her to pay 590,007 baht in compensation to the young woman.

However, the Appeal Court found that Monta had provided accommodation for Ms Kanchana, then a girl, in a condominium in Prachaniwet area of Bangkok, and had her share chores with two other maids, catering only to Monta and her child.

The Appeal Court found that Ms Kanchana's workload was not heavy and Monta had on occasions given her 1,000 baht, and also 2,000 baht for a trip home, and transferred 5,000 baht to her account.

She had also taken Ms Kanchana on vacation in other provinces and let her go out shopping. That showed that Ms Kanchana had freedom of movement and had not been detained, the Appeal Court said.

Although Monta had failed to send Ms Kanchana to nursing school and to pay her a salary as promised, and had kept Ms Kanchana's ID card, she had not coerced her into working.

Ms Kanchana herself had told the court that although  Monta had been hot-tempered she had never coerced her to work. Therefore, there was no case to support the charge of human trafficking, the Appeal Court ruled.

After hearing the ruling, Monta cried for joy and prostrated herself.

She is also being held on a charge of lese majeste. She was returned to the Bangkok Women's Prison. 

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