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Bangkok Metropolitan Administration Under Fire: Ae’s Sexual Harassment Claims Expose Systemic Failures

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In a tale of distress and disappointment, a woman known only as Ae, 30, has brought to light a troubling narrative involving allegations of sexual harassment within the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA). Ae, who was a valued member of Bangkok governor Chadchart Sittipunt’s team, has voiced her frustrations about the response to her plight.

Ae stepped into the public eye through the media, claiming that she was subjected to unwanted advances by a senior executive of the BMA. Although a formal investigation was launched, it culminated in the governor merely asking the accused to step down from his role as assistant secretary-general on June 7, citing insufficient evidence.

However, Ae contends that there was concrete proof in the form of Line messages that supported her claims. The accused had reportedly admitted his misconduct and apologized in these messages. Additionally, two deputy governors were present and witnessed the confession, according to Ae. Strangely, the committee overseeing the investigation did not summon these deputies as witnesses, raising questions about the thoroughness of the probe.

In recounting her journey, Ae shared with the Bangkok Post that she had joined Mr. Chadchart’s campaign team in April 2021. Although she resigned from her official duties in March the following year, she continued to assist with ongoing projects at City Hall. It was during a team dinner in April of the previous year that the alleged harassment took place. Ae described how a senior executive, taking advantage of the setting, approached her from behind, forcibly hugged her, and kissed her neck and ear despite her attempts to resist.

Understandably shaken, Ae reported the incident immediately to the governor’s chief adviser and his deputy governors. By June, the accused approached Ae again in an attempt at reconciliation. He acknowledged his misconduct and promised an apology via social media. This apology, however, was never made public, compelling Ae to seek justice through alternative avenues.

Undeterred, Ae filed a complaint in August using the Traffy Fondue mobile app, a platform designed for such grievances. Her case remains unresolved, lingering in a state of uncertainty. Adding to her disillusionment, Ae’s request for a transparent clarification of the investigation process through a Line group comprised of executives and journalists led to her being removed from the group altogether.

The tale becomes even more unsettling as Ae revealed that another woman from the team had similarly faced sexual harassment. Yet, this woman chose not to pursue any action after a legal team concluded that her case did not meet the criteria for sexual harassment.

As Ae continues her fight for justice, her story underscores a significant issue within the system, emphasizing the need for more robust mechanisms to address and support victims of harassment. Ae’s courage in coming forward serves as an important reminder of the ongoing struggle many face in similar circumstances, and the vital necessity for institutions to uphold integrity and transparency in their handling of such deeply sensitive issues.

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