South Korean human trafficking leader arrested in Pattaya

A leader in the human trafficking trade from South Korea was arrested yesterday at a luxury condominium in Pattaya. He was charged with operating an illicit massage parlour in Busan and luring Thai women into sex work.

The South Korean criminal boss, identified as 50 year old Cho, was arrested at a luxury condominium on Pattaya Sai Sam Road yesterday at 10am. The arrest was made after a complaint was filed by three Thai women in 2019. Better late than never.

According to a report by the Royal Thai Police Immigration Bureau Division 3, three Thai women told police they saw a massage parlour job advertisement on Facebook. The agency offered to pay all travelling expenses for those who applied for the position, so they accepted the offer.

However, upon arriving in South Korea, their passports were seized, and they were forced to work as prostitutes by the massage parlour owner, Cho.

The woman reported that Cho had physically assaulted them and made death threats if they didn’t comply with the work.

The Korean police eventually assisted the Thai victims, who subsequently filed a complaint with Thai law enforcement.

After members of the Thai agency were arrested, Cho fled and remained in hiding in South Korea, thinking the case was closed. However, he recently travelled to Pattaya, where he was apprehended yesterday.

Cho now faces charges under Sections 6 and 10 of the Anti-Human Trafficking Act, which carry a penalty of imprisonment for more than six months to four years, a fine of more than 50,000 to 400,000 baht, or both. Further investigations are ongoing to identify additional suspects, including both Thai and South Korean citizens.

Two weeks ago, two Thai women were rescued unharmed after being held captive in a flat on Temple Street in Yau Ma Tel of Hong Kong and forced to work as prostitutes. They were initially informed that they would work as masseurs, but the situation turned out to be completely different from what they expected.

The victims of these massage therapist job scams are not just Thai women but also Thai men. Last year, a Thai man was rescued after he was lured by Thai and Chinese traffickers to sell sex at a massage shop in Dubai.

Immigration police strongly urge Thai people who wish to work abroad to go through legal processes and thoroughly check the company information before applying for a job.

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Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger who focuses on translating breakingThai news stories into English. With a background in field journalism, Petch brings several years of experience to the English News desk at The Thaiger. Before joining The Thaiger, Petch worked as a content writer for several known blogging sites in Bangkok, including Happio and The Smart Local. Her articles have been syndicated by many big publishers in Thailand and internationally, including the Daily Mail, The Sun and the Bangkok Post. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp! But during office hours, you can find Petch on LinkedIn and you can reach her by email at

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