A human rights activist has gone public to demand a downtown luxury mall take action against a shopowner allegedly caught on tape sexually assaulting an employee on the premises.
LGBT+ advocate Nada Chaiyajit’s online petition has drawn the support of thousands to pressure the Gaysorn Village shopping mall to evict the owner of a watch shop accused earlier this year of assaulting a transgender human resources employee identified only as Mimi.
“His action shows that he dehumanized Mimi,” Nada told Coconuts Bangkok today in reference to a groping incident earlier this year that, despite being caught on tape, has not gone anywhere with the police. Nada said she wanted to “speed up” the justice process.
Calls to Gaysorn had gone unreturned Friday as of publication time. The shop was not identified by name.
As of publication time about 3,000 people had signed the petition since it launched Tuesday. Addressed to Gaysorn Property chairman Charn Srivikorn, it demands the company issue anti-harassment policies and take action against the watch shop immediately.
“Gaysorn did not state human rights policies or guidelines imposed on stakeholders like other shopping malls such as Central,” Nada said, adding that another mall owner, Central Group, took action within days of a similar incident.
Nada said Gaysorn should put “people before profit” and terminate the shop’s contract, ideally.
“It is the direct and indirect responsibility of the business sector to ensure that every square inch of their department store, and all those living and breathing inside the building are safe and free from harassment,” Nada said. “The mall cannot claim that they had nothing to do with the incident.”
The mall and its shops reopened Wednesday after many weeks closed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Nada hopes that if the petition gets enough signatures, it will amplify the issue and get the attention of the authorities.
“They should stop being so disinterested already. If something like this happened to your family member, what would you do?” Nada said.
Nada would not disclose the name of the watch shop, citing fears of retaliation against the assault victim.
Gaysorn Village lists Rolex and TAG Heuer shops along with the Time Zone and Omega watch boutique shops.
In security footage of the incident, a bald Caucasian man places his hand on a seated woman’s inner thigh before reaching between her legs and appearing to squeeze her groin area. The man’s hand remains there for nearly a minute before he notices someone else entering the room.
It was recorded on the afternoon of March 18 in the shop’s office. Mimi said that the man also made verbal sexual advances.
The man, Nada said, was the shop’s Dutch owner.
Nada added that Mimi did not defend herself at the time of the incident because she feared being fired immediately.
Nada said Mimi, shakened by the incident, contacted her for advice soon after it happened. Seven days after it happened, they took their gathered evidence and filed an assault complaint against the man, whom they did not identify, with Lumphini police. That was over four months ago and no apparent action has been taken.
Mimi resigned April 1, citing her employer’s assault as the reason.
Nada said filing the complaint against the man was insufficient. She believes Gaysorn Property should be held accountable as well.
This article, Gaysorn Village under pressure to take action against tenant accused of groping trans worker, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia’s leading alternative media company.