PATONG: Phuket Immigration Police officers last night arrested 18 Burmese “waitresses” at the Phatpong Karaoke on Taweewong Rd. They also arrested Wicharn Sakatekarn, 32, the manager of the establishment, on charges of harboring illegal immigrants. Pol Col Apirak Hongthong, superintendent of the Phuket Immigration Office, said he had received a tip-off that there were Burmese women working illegally at the bar. When officers went there they found the 18 women, all Burmese of Chinese extraction, and arrested them on charges of being in Thailand illegally and working without work permits. “All of them are beautiful women with white skin, aged between 19 and 25,” Col Apirak said. “They call the place a karaoke lounge, but everyone knows these women are sex workers. Most of the customers are Taiwanese and Chinese because the women can speak Mandarin.” Denying the charge against him, Wicharn told the police that he thought the girls were Thai because, during interviews, they spoke very good Thai. Phatpong Karaoke opened in May last year. It has two floors; downstairs is a discotheque while the upstairs is divided into karaoke rooms. All those arrested are currently in custody at Kathu Police Station.
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