Big Joke to travel to Phuket following Patong sex trafficking bust

Big Joke plans to travel to Phuket following the scandal, photo by ThaiRath.

UPDATE

The Deputy Commander of the Royal Thai Police, Surachate “Big Joke” Hakpark, 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.

Related news

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.

PREVIOUS UPDATE

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.

ORIGINAL STORY: Patong bar raided for child prostitution, 6 teenagers rescued

The special operation unit from the Department of Provincial Administration (DOPA) conducted an undercover raid on Velvet bar on Bangla Walking Street in the Patong neighbourhood of Phuket yesterday after being notified of child prostitution involving teenagers under 18 years old.

The international anti-trafficking organisation, Operation Underground Railroad, complained to the DOPA that Velvet bar on Bangla Walking Street lured teenage girls aged under 18 years old into offering sex services to foreign customers.

After conducting an investigation to verify the complaint, the DOPA discovered that Velvet bar was secretly providing sex services to foreign customers, despite operating as a regular bar. The bar was operated without a license as well. Consequently, the officers divided into two teams and carried out raids at the bar and a nearby hotel at 8pm yesterday.

During the bar raid, 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.

The penalty for operating a bar without permission will result in imprisonment of up to one year, a fine of up to 60,000 baht, or both according to Section 26(22) of the Entertainment Place Act. They also face imprisonment of four to 12 years and a fine of 400,000 to 1,200,000 baht for seeking personal benefits from child prostitution according to Section 6 of the Act on Prevention and Suppression of Human Trafficking.

At a nearby hotel, officers found six teenagers, the youngest was 16 years old, offering sex services to customers. They 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 Inspector of the DOPA, Ronnarong Thipsiri, underlined that human trafficking was a critical issue in Thailand that could negatively affect the country’s image and economy. The authority vowed to continue its efforts in suppressing human trafficking to upgrade the country in the US’s annual Trafficking In Persons (TIP) report from Tier 2 Watch List to Tier 1.

Phuket News

Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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