The foreign owner of the Patong bar at the centre of a recent sex trafficking scandal fled Thailand to Laos, according to the Deputy Commander of the Royal Thai Police, Surachate “Big Joke” Hakparn.
Big Joke arrived in Phuket yesterday to follow up on the case. He said the bar is related to a network of bars in Bangkok and Pattaya, The Phuket Express reported.
Big Joke said the bar might have been operated as a nominee in which Thai people registered for them with some foreign shareholders.
The main owner of the bar, a foreigner, is reportedly married to a Thai national. Big Joke said that he has now fled to Laos.
Police are continuing to investigate, and are following up on customers who used the bar’s services, specifically those who interacted with minors. Police are also inspecting bars across Phuket, Pattaya, and Bangkok to ensure that no venues are exploiting minors.
The Deputy Commander of the Royal Thai Police, Surachate “Big Joke” Hakparn, plans to travel to Phuket following the recent sex trafficking bust in Patong, ThaiRath reported yesterday.
Yesterday, the deputy chief of Provincial Police Region 8, Pol. Maj. Gen. Wasan Techaakasen, went to Kathu Police Station to follow up and apprehend more suspects involved in the scandal. They were charged with sex trafficking minors under 15 and 18 years old.
Big Joke plans to further investigate prostitution involving minors under 18 and 15 years old at brothels and tourist attractions in Phuket.
The scandal made in Patong headlines after the special operation unit from the Department of Provincial Administration (DOPA) conducted an undercover raid on Velvet bar on Bangla Walking Street on Thursday, after being notified of child prostitution involving teenagers under 18 years old. Officers found six teenagers at a nearby hotel offering sex services to customers.
The teenagers would be transferred to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), where they would be interviewed and then sent to a children’s shelter for further mind-healing processes.
The officers arrested two women including the bar manager, Taksakorn “Nam” Suppa-akkarapokin, and a sex worker agent named Watcharaporn “Uki” Thongmark. The two were charged with operating entertainment venues without permission and human trafficking.
Five officers from Patong Police Station were transferred due to their connections to the scandal. They were accused of carelessness and enabling the bar to provide sex services to foreigners.
A further investigation was underway to verify each officer’s innocence. Meanwhile, the relevant officers were transferred to work at Phuket Provincial Police Office while the investigation is underway.
Five officers from Patong Police Station were transferred after they were connected to the child prostitution scandal at a bar in the Patong neighbourhood of Phuket.
The Operation Underground Railroad anti-trafficking organisation, the Department of Provincial Administration (DOPA), found evidence to implicate the officers involved in the child prostitution racket at the Velvet bar, which saw the eventual rescue of six teenage girls aged under 18 years old yesterday.
High-ranking officers from Patong Police Station, responsible for supervising the area, were accused of carelessness and enabling the bar to provide sex services to foreigners.
A further investigation is underway to verify each officer’s innocence. Meanwhile, the relevant officers were transferred to work at Phuket Provincial Police Office while the investigation is underway.
The officers transferred included Patong Police Station superintendent Sujin Ninbordee, deputy superintendent Somporn Surin, and three police inspectors, Naruebordin Pangleesen, Wuttiwat Liangboonjinda, and Suchart Choomphusaeng.
These officers will be temporarily working at the Phuket Provincial Police Office until their innocence is proven through the investigation.
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