Brothel bust: Thai asylum seeker facing seven years behind bars in UK

A Thai national faces seven years in prison and a severe fine for brazenly establishing an illicit brothel and escort agency right under the noses of the British Home Office as he sought asylum from his home country.

The audacious endeavour came to light last night, revealing that Saranwee Kwanpetch managed about 50 girls across multiple locations in London, all while he was supposed to be under Home Office surveillance.

Saranwee arrived in the UK on a healthcare visa in 2011, subsequently overstaying illegally for a decade until immigration authorities apprehended him. Despite this, in 2021, the 38 year old pimp was granted permission to remain in the country after applying to the Home Office for refuge, albeit with the stipulation that he refrain from working during the processing period. Despite facing multiple rejections, he continues his efforts.

Despite being closely monitored by the Home Office, Saranwee brazenly incorporated StarAsian Ltd on May 31, situated mere minutes from the Ritz. The company’s purported activities were listed as, other activities of employment placement agencies. Its website boldly advertises Asian escort services, boasting a catalogue of “over 40 special companions for every occasion,” allegedly all in the UK illegally and at risk of exploitation.

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Prices for services range from £150 (6,900 baht) for an hour to £1,000 (45,500 baht) for a full night. Saranwee, originally from Bangkok, registered as a tenant at ten properties across London and Essex, some of which are alleged to have been utilised as brothels. According to one employee, he charged rent and claimed a third of their earnings.

Controlling another person’s prostitution for financial gain is illegal under the Sexual Offences Act 2003. Furthermore, it is a criminal offence for a brothel keeper to arrange for individuals to travel for sexual services under human trafficking legislation.

Brothel bust: Thai asylum seeker facing seven years behind bars in UK | News by Thaiger
Picture of Saranwee Kwanpetch courtesy of The Daily Mail

The escort agency’s website even offers to travel to customers unable to reach Central London, ensuring no one misses out on the fun. A customer, who identified Saranwee as Benny, reported him to immigration services in December and January to no avail.

It is alleged that some of the women working for Saranwee were in the UK on tourist or family visas, while others reportedly submitted false asylum claims under his guidance. One escort admitted that seeking asylum seemed easier and safer than obtaining a visa, despite facing dangerous situations with clients.

A Home Office spokesperson, red-faced, declined to comment on individual cases, citing longstanding government policy.

Saranwee faces being charged with Section 33A as an either-way offence and has a maximum penalty of 7 years imprisonment on indictment or 6 months upon summary conviction.

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Bob Scott

Bob Scott is an experienced writer and editor with a passion for travel. Born and raised in Newcastle, England, he spent more than 10 years in Asia. He worked as a sports writer in the north of England and London before relocating to Asia. Now he resides in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is the Editor-in-Chief for The Thaiger English News. With a vast amount of experience from living and writing abroad, Bob Scott is an expert on all things related to Asian culture and lifestyle.

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