Phuket child prostitution scandal: Entertainment venues lose 100 million baht

In the wake of a child prostitution scandal in Phuket, several entertainment venues have lost 100 million baht.

Local authorities ordered the early closure of bars, restaurants, and adult entertainment establishments, following the discovery of underage girls being employed at Velvet bar in Phuket to engage in sexual activity with foreigners. The venues were ordered to close at 1am and the chairman of Patong Entertainment Business Association reckons businesses have lost over 100 million baht as a consequence.

The recent raid on Velvet bar, conducted by a special task force unit from the Department of Provincial Administration, led to the arrest of two suspects. It has come to light that the bar was operated by a foreigner, known only as Ronny, who has reportedly fled to Laos. The suspect also ran bars in Bangkok and its adjacent provinces, reported Bangkok Post.

Weerawit Kruesombat, the Chairman of Patong Entertainment Business Association, recently met with nightspot operators to discuss measures to prevent venues from becoming involved in illegal activities, including drugs and procuring minors for sexual services. This initiative comes as a response to the scandal and its aftermath.

The incident prompted authorities to order the closure of all entertainment venues in the area at 1am, resulting in a significant loss of earnings in the sector of at least 100 million baht during the past week. In response, Weerawit has called on everyone to act as the eyes and ears of the authorities to prevent further incidents.

The owners of the same entertainment establishments also run four restaurants, which authorities have ordered to shut down following accusations of underage sex services being offered. The association plans to request that the landowner cancels the leases.

Five officers from Patong Police Station have been transferred in connection with the child prostitution scandal.

The Operation Underground Railroad anti-trafficking organisation, in conjunction with the Department of Provincial Administration, found evidence to implicate the officers involved in the child prostitution racket at Velvet bar. Six teenage girls aged under 18 years old were rescued as a result of the investigation.

High-ranking officers from Patong Police Station, who were responsible for supervising the area, have been accused of carelessness and enabling the bar to provide sex services to foreigners.

A further investigation is underway to verify each officer’s innocence. In the meantime, the relevant officers have been transferred to work at Phuket Provincial Police Office while the investigation is underway.

For more on the story, read HERE:

Phuket News

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Bob Scott

Bob Scott is an experienced writer and editor with a passion for travel. Born and raised in Newcastle, England, he spent more than 10 years in Asia. He worked as a sports writer in the north of England and London before relocating to Asia. Now he resides in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is the Editor-in-Chief for The Thaiger English News. With a vast amount of experience from living and writing abroad, Bob Scott is an expert on all things related to Asian culture and lifestyle.