Pavena raid fails to free sex slaves

TUB LAMU: Politician Pavena Hongsakul, champion of abused women in Thailand, yesterday accompanied police on a raid on a brothel in this Phang Nga village in a bid to free women believed to have been forced into prostitution. But she and the police came away empty-handed, the owner of the brothel having apparently been tipped off minutes before they arrived. The raid was the third on the brothel, the Cateye Karaoke at 11/19 Moo 5, Tambon Lamkaen, Thai Muang District, and the second time K. Pavena has accompanied the police. K. Pavena, a former Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office and Chairman of the Pavena Foundation for Children & Women, joined a raid at the end of last year, during which a couple of women were released. A week ago, a second raid at her instigation also freed two women. The women said that they had been beaten to force them to service as many as seven customers a night. “The police didn’t arrest the owners [in the raid last week],” K. Pavena said, “because, they said, the owners had run away.” But, she claimed, her sources had informed her that the owners were still in their home, close to the Cateye. “I came here today because I want to rescue other prostitutes and take drastic action against the owners. The police have been here two times already, but the place was closed for only five days and then opened again,” K. Pavena told the Gazette. In yesterday’s raid, Pavena arrived just too late. The Cateye was closed and locked. After officers forced their way in, they found one room with four drinking tables and eight small cubicles for sex, which appeared to have been used very recently. K. Pavena and the police then checked the nearby home of the owner, which they also found padlocked and abandoned. Inside, the air-conditioning and fans were still turned on, and rice was cooking in an electric pot. The ID cards of 10 women, most from Isarn, were found in a wardrobe, along with paperwork showing the income from each woman’s “service fee”. Some 30 bikinis were discovered under a bed. A plastic jar smelling of marijuana was also found. Also discovered was the house registration paper, bearing the names of Manoon Thongwanich, 48, and his wife Pranee, 42. The couple were identified as the people running the brothel by two of the women rescued earlier. The village head, Thawee Paeyai, told K. Pavena that he had seen Manoon drive away in a red BMW with his family and some of the girls only minutes before the raid started. “I think [Manoon] must have good sources who told him we were coming, though only just in time,” K. Paveena said. “I am coordinating with the Governor of Phang Nga, the police here and the Commissioner-General of the Royal Thai Police to follow up on this case and arrest them.”

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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