Death of housemaid in Thailand who died of gunshot wounds ruled a suicide; family urges authorities to launch investigation

The victim’s family holds up a photo of the 17-year-old. Photo: AAC

Thai authorities have ruled the death of a Myanmar housemaid in Thailand a suicide, to the anger and disappointment of both her family and migrant rights groups.

The 17-year-old victim was originally from the town of Palaw in the Tanintharyi Region. Prior to her death, she had been working at the same Thai household, located in Ratchaburi Province’s Ban Pong District, for three years for a monthly salary of THB9,000 (approximately MMMK360,000 or USD270).

Ye Min, a member of the Myanmar migrant rights group Aid Alliance Committee for Myanmar Workers (AAC), told 7Day that the victim and her older sister both used to work at the house. However, the sister eventually quit.

The victim was found dead in her employer’s bedroom on the evening of August 6. She had two gunshot wounds, and her employer’s gun was found near the body.

Despite the nature of her death, police ruled the death a suicide. However, the victim’s family and the AAC are still petitioning both Thai and Myanmar authorities for a proper investigation into the case, which they believe was a homicide.

The victim was buried three days after her death, on August 9. Family members say that they opted for a burial over a cremation in case an investigation does get launched, and the body needs to be exhumed and examined.

“The Thai employer told all her neighbors that the girl died because she shot herself,” Ye Min said to 7Day.

“We’re not satisfied. Two gunshot wounds can’t mean she committed suicide.”

On social media, Myanmar users have also commented that the police ruling was unjust, and alleged that this was a homicide case.

In September 2014, a number of high-profile cases of Myanmar housemaids being abused abroad prompted the government to put a temporary ban on women going to other countries to find work as maids. Today, stories of Myanmar housemaids being mistreated by their employers are still abundant.

In July 2016, a mother-daughter duo in Singapore was found guilty of killing their Myanmar maid.

In June of this year, a Myanmar maid jumped to her death from the 18th floor of the Interlace Condo in Singapore. Although the case is still under investigation, her uncle said in an interview at the time that he had heard “rumors” that his niece’s employers had been abusing her.

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