Arrest warrants for Swiss man and Thai women allegedly involved in Patong bar scandal
Police issued arrest warrants for a Swiss man and two Thai women allegedly involved in the Patong bar scandal that came to light last week. The scandal involved underage girls being exploited for sexual services. A number of individuals were arrested, and five Patong Police officers were transferred to other posts for their connections to the scandal last week.
Region 8 Police commander Lieutenant General Surapong Thanomjit said on Monday that the Phuket Provincial Court issued arrest warrants for a Swiss man and two Thai women. However, the Swiss man had fled Thailand, he said.
Other foreigners allegedly involved in the scandal are people who enjoy using sexual services. Police are working to track these people down, The Phuket Express reported.
Police have not yet released the names of the suspects. However, police stated to Thai media that they were working on finding them all. Police said they were cooperating with the country where they believe the Swiss man fled, and hoping to capture and extradite him for legal proceedings. Police also said they are working with Thai immigration officials.
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.
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