Daraek’s Sexual Harassment of Women in Muay Thai

This week, Thai fighter Daraek (Pichairat Srisuk พิชัยรัต ศรีสุข) was ousted from Revolution Muay Thai gym in Phuket for allegedly sexually harassing and blackmailing women.

Gym owner and manager Tim Fisher kicked him out of the gym, issuing a statement to the Muay Thai media requesting that they publish the story and ban him from fighting.

“Daraek’s shameful behaviour is completely unacceptable and no one in the Revolution camp was aware of it. As a family man and [sic] responsible for my camp, kids, boxers, staff and customers as well as the Muay Thai community, it [sic] without hesitation and my duty to block him fighting in Thailand and overseas to the best of my ability. He will no longer has [sic] any affiliation with Revolution in any capacity. Hopefully this will be a lesson to those who think to be predators that their actions will bring them punishment”.

– Tim Fisher, Revolution Muay Thai gym

Fisher’s statement didn’t specify Daraek’s actions, but referred to him as a ‘predator’. Several Thai Facebook pages, including MuayDed789, Muay Thai CH 7, and Aod KO Muay Thai, reported that Daraek had been pressuring his female followers for pictures of their genitals before blackmailing them. It’s reported that more than 20 women have come forward.

Petchyindee manager Sia Boat made a statement on his Facebook page, stating that Daraek’s behaviour ‘has no place in the Muay Thai industry’. He also added that the fighter had also borrowed 15,000 THB from him.

Foreign Women Report Sexual Harassment by Daraek

Three foreign women have come forward with details of how Daraek harassed them. They shared their stories with me in order to bring some of his behaviour to light.

Requesting Nude Photos and Video Calls

The day after the news broke, Hannah, a Canadian fighter based in Phuket, shared an exchange she’d had with Daraek on her Instagram story.

The two had met briefly in November 2021 at Patong Stadium, in an interaction she described as “super weird”. “He called out at me, telling me I’m pretty, and I kinda said ‘haha, thanks’ and kept on doing whatever”, she said. “When I got home half an hour later, he’d already found me on Facebook and Instagram. I didn’t even tell him my name. But then he started asking me non-stop to go out with him”.

Hannah shared a conversation she’d had with Daraek via Instagram in June, 2022. It began with him responding to one of her stories, a mirror selfie in leggings and a sports bra. “Show me”, he replied, with a clear sense of entitlement.

“What do you want to see?” Hannah replied, confused. When he said he wanted to see her body, she said laughed at the sheer audacity of the request.

At this stage, Hannah tried to shut him down in a playful, non-confrontational way, telling him that he can’t ask to see her breasts because he’s not her boyfriend. When he persisted, she refused once again, telling him that she was working.

This wasn’t enough to deter Daraek, and he began to ask her to video call him, despite her later telling him that she was shopping. “The photo I sent was the aisle of the market I was at, so he would stop asking for nudes, but he told me to go and take photos in the bathroom for him”, she told me.

When he still didn’t stop, Hannah was forced to take a more direct approach. She told Daraek that he was rude, and that he had no right to demand anything from her. When he kept asking, she simply told him to ‘fuck off’. Still, he continued to pressure her, desperately begging for pictures. “I just replied to a few messages, and now you think you can ask me for this? You should treat women better than this”, she said. He apologised, but at 2.20am that same night, resumed pestering her with the same requests. “Why would I talk to a guy who doesn’t respect me?” she asked, before telling him to leave her alone.

After seeing the news spread about Daraek on social media, Hannah uploaded a screen recording of the conversation to her Instagram stories. She quickly began to receive replies from women who’d had similar experiences with him. “I’ve had like 3 girls reply to me in the last hour saying he tried it with them too”, she told me. She says that if she’d known that he was doing the same to so many other women, she would have come forward sooner. But it’s easy to brush behaviour like this off when harassment is normalised, and consequences for it aren’t. “I wish i would have told his boss earlier”, she said. “But I get so many gross messages from other guys and mostly no one cares”.

Unsolicited Sexual Images

A second Phuket-based female fighter, who chose to remain anonymous, described a similar interaction with him.

“He first messaged me in 2018 with a heart and ‘hi’. I replied, asking why he was messaging me when I had a boyfriend and he had a girlfriend…Nothing else happened until November last year. I posted a video, and he sent it to me saying ‘wow’. He asked me how I was, I said ‘good’, and suddenly he sent me a video of his dick! He was wearing pants but you could clearly see he had a hard-on”.

– Anonymous

When this didn’t work, he simply said ‘sorry’, and she ceased contact with him.

“I never told anyone about it because I didn’t think they would do anything about it, especially in a male-dominated sport”, she said. However, she’s hopeful after seeing how Revolution is handling the matter. “I’m so pleased Tim has taken action. I hope this makes other predators think twice before doing the same”.

Pressuring Women for Sex

A third woman in Phuket, who also chose to remain anonymous, says Daraek had also persued her. While she thought nothing of it at the time, the recent revelations about his behaviour put her experience into context.

“It started out as following him as a fighter, so I used to follow him on Instagram”, she said. “I liked a bunch of posts, which is quite common for everyone to do back and forth with no expectations”.

After that, Daraek initiated a conversation.

“I brought up that I noticed he had a girl on his Instagram and that it must be his girlfriend. He insisted that he wanted to come to me and be with me and I was like…’hold on buddy, you have a girlfriend and I don’t even know you’. I stayed polite, and he began sending me videos of him blowing kisses. I reminded him he was in a relationship and sent a video back saying ‘no, no, no’.  Tried to make it funny and light humor. He got the point and took a break. Then he came back, liking more stories of mine and started insisting on seeing me”.

“I said ‘you aren’t going to sleep with me, but if you really want to, you can come out to eat with my friends’, figuring he would decline. He specifically said in English that he wanted me to be alone. I was like ‘no way. I’m going out with my friends’. He actually showed up to Bangla and found me at a live music bar. 

He tried to tag along and follow me and my friends and kept insisting on taking me home. My friends told him in Thai that they were staying at my place, and we left together. Then he started messaging me, begging.

Later, I laughed it off as just another crazy guy trying to get laid, and when I would see him at Super Champ I would just laugh, flip my hair and ignore him. But when I saw this [news coverage], I realized he was targeting me for much worse and I should probably tell anyone who is reporting this and the owner of Revolution Muay Thai, so that it will add to the numbers and credibility of the other girls who have reported and been victimized”  

– Anonymous

Thai Women Report Daraek’s Harassment to the Media

Thai channel Amarin News spoke to Thai women who’d been harassed by Daraek.

In a TV news report, Amarin reporters interviewed a woman who shared screenshots of an online conversation she’d had with the fighter. The messages show Daraek using his fame as a way to lure her, initially offering to send her his Muay Thai shorts and shirt.

The woman was a fan of his, and they’d begun a conversation after he’d replied to her story. He said he would send her the items, but only if she would video call him. When she declined, telling him that she was busy watching fights and didn’t want to, he persisted. “If you want to get them, you have to call me and let me see”, he said, asking her to go to the bathroom to talk to him. It quickly became clear that his intentions were of a sexual nature, and she told reporters that he wanted her to masturbate for him. She immediately stopped communicating with him and unfollowed him.

Later in the news segment, a second young woman is interviewed. She told reporters that months ago, her friend had been harassed by Daraek in the same way that others had reported.

These stories, while just a few of many, show a clear pattern of harassment of women in the Muay Thai community, and the entitlement with which Daraek approached them.

Sia Boat was also interviewed by Amarin, and mentioned the money Daraek had borrowed from him. He said that he’d already accepted that he wouldn’t get his money back, but couldn’t tolerate the way Daraek had behaved with so many women in the Muay Thai community, repeatedly harassing and deceiving them, using his fame as leverage. “He doesn’t deserve to be a professional fighter”, he said. “I felt I had to do something”.

Daraek’s Apology

Details of the accusations of blackmail are yet to emerge. According to private messages shared by one of the anonymous women interviewed for this article, Daraek denies blackmail. However, there was no mention of this in the apology he posted on his Facebook profile, in which he admitted to the accusations that had been reported.

“In regards to the current news story about the ‘Muay Thai TikTok star’, it’s me”, he wrote. “First of all, I apologise to those I’ve disappointed and I promise that this kind of this will never happen again. I apologise to everyone who follows my fighting career and to all Muay Thai fans. I accept my mistakes, and I hope the Muay Thai community will allow me to continue the career that I love”.

Notably, Daraek’s apology was directed towards the Muay Thai industry and his fans, not the women he’d exploited. No mention was made of the women who’d been targets of his harrassment.

Consequences for Harassment & Abuse in Muay Thai

This is the first time that a case of sexual misconduct in Muay Thai has been given such public coverage in Thailand, with consequences promised for the perpetrator.

In 2001, several female fighters at the Rangist Stadium’s Muay Thai Institute came forward with allegations of sexual harassment by their coach, Amnuay Keitbumroong, who is also the institute’s founder and president. Their claims were brushed off, and Mr. Keitbumroong reportedly responded by launching a defamation case against the women. There are almost no written reports of this case.

In response to coverage of Daraek’s removal from Revolution and Tim Fisher’s proposed ban, one Thai comment read “Great. This is a foreigner. If it were a Thai [gym owner], he could just wai beautifully, offer a fruit basket, and the matter would be finished. So people don’t need to be afraid of anything”.

This comment refers to the general standard for resolution of such matters in Thailand, which often requires little more than a public show of remorse.

In 2020, a politician made such a display to ask forgiveness from an opposition party leader for slander, offering a fruit basket and prostrating at the party leader’s feet. Often, those who have committed crimes, acts of public indecency or simply faux-pas against Thai culture, are required to make a public apology and wai to the police, to their victims, and to cameras. There have been mutliple cases of foreigners making performative public apologies in this way, often for drunken antics and public sex acts. But these public shaming rituals aren’t just reserved for those who break the law. One Thai hostess had to make a public apology at a police station for not smiling enough when greeting tourists, and in another case, a biker was forced to apologise for doing wheelies on a public road.

It’s reasonable for the commenter to speculate (or joke) that a case like Daraek’s could be closed in the same way. However, in a recent Facebook post, Tim Fisher assured followers that there will be further consequences. “Wrong has definitely been done and the real punishment is coming. I have made a release to the press and further investigations are in the hands of others already”, he said.

A Larger Issue

While Daraek’s behaviour has earned him public condemnation and notoriety, it’s not isolated.

There are countless other men preying on women in Muay Thai in similar ways. This case will set an example for how these offenders can expect to be dealt with, both by the authorities and the Muay Thai community at large.

It remains to be seen if Daraek will be charged with any offences, and what the public outcry will mean for his career in the long run. This case is just one indicator of a much-needed reckoning within Muay Thai.

 

This story is ongoing, and updates will be made as it develops.

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