Raid on Bangkok’s Victoria’s Secret massage may reveal police freebies, trafficked women

A trafficking raid on “Victoria Secret” massage parlor on Jan. 12, 2018 found underage sex workers. Photos: Department of Provincial Administration
A trafficking raid on “Victoria Secret” massage parlor on Jan. 12, 2018 found underage sex workers. Photos: Department of Provincial Administration

Five Wang Thonglang police officers, including the chief, have been transferred to inactive posts due to suspected bribe-taking following a raid on Victoria’s Secret massage parlor, an alleged prostitution house, on Friday night.

Led by the Department of Special Investigation, the raid took place at the Rama 9 Road massage parlor in Huai Kwang district, which is under the jurisdiction of Wang Thonglang Metro Police Station, reported Thai News Bureau.

According to Metropolitan Police Bureau Commissioner Pol. Lt. Gen. Chanthep Sesavej, a total of 113 women were rescued, most from neighboring countries and some without ID cards, and at least 10 were underaged.

These factors led to human trafficking warrants for alleged boss of the establishment Boonsap Amornratanasiri, 55, aka “Pa Kob” or “Daddy Kob.” He was taken into custody at the raid and continues to be held since Criminal Court denied his bail.

Police have obtained over 10 warrants for Pa Kob, for charges including suspected trafficking, money laundering, and procurement. They will attempt to create a human trafficking case if the evidence is sufficient. He has not yet been officially charged and police are building a case against him while he is detained.

The rescued women are being interviewed to try to determine if they are victims of trafficking. They are from Myanmar (96) , Laos (11), China (2), and Thais (4). According to preliminary interviews, at least 20 are believed to be trafficked, reported The Nation.

The Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission is also leading an official investigation of free services given to police officers. They are going through documents to determine which officers spent time at the massage hour and were given free food, drinks, massages that were believed to be bribes, reported Bangkok Post.

Documents seen by the public list the positions and titles of officers who visited Victoria’s Secret in September and October of 2017. Those identified will be summoned for interrogation.

So far, the five officers that have been transferred to inactive posts are Pol. Lt. Col. Prachya Bunyuen, Pol. Lt. Col. Naren Kruengsanuk, Pol. Lt. Col. Phichai Toontham, Pol. Lt. Col. Dechawat Khankasikam, and Pol. Col.  Thammanoon Bunruang, who is the Wang Thonglang police chief.

The commissioner said the transfers would help ensure transparency in the investigation.

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