Tuesday, November 12, 2019

DSI denies brothel raid motivated by politics

Jan 17. 2018
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By The Nation

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THE DEPARTMENT of Special Investigation (DSI) yesterday dismissed rumours that the recent crackdown on a major Bangkok-based massage parlour was politically motivated.

An ongoing investigation has suggested that the real owner of the decades-old massage parlour Victoria’s: The Secret Forever has ties with Northern and Western politicians who are planning to set up a political party.

 DSI deputy chief Pol Colonel Songsak Raksaksakul confirmed the links between the unnamed real owner and politicians yesterday. But he firmly insisted that the move against the massage parlour took place based on evidence, not because of a special order from someone in power. 

“There was no order for me to single out this place,” said Songsak, who has headed the operation against the parlour.

Last Friday, the DSI joined the military in raiding Victoria’s in Bangkok’s Huai Kwang district and rounded up more than 100 women and girls suspected of working as prostitutes there. Some of the alleged sex workers are younger than 18 years old. 

Songsak said he suspected that people implicated in the Victoria’s scandal might have spread rumours about the political link in the hope of portraying the case as political persecution, despite evidence strongly suggesting illegal offences had been committed at the venue. 

He was speaking in response to rumours that politicians linked to Victoria’s were being pressured to support Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha’s bid to return as an unelected prime minister in the post-election period. The DSI has taken over the case from police as the parlour allegedly was involved in human trafficking, which falls under the DSI’s jurisdiction. 

Seven people and one legal entity, Amarin Onsen, have been officially identified as suspects. 

All the suspects are now in detention, including Amarin Onsen’s major shareholder and licence holder Sasithorn Wirathepsuporn.

Sasithorn turned herself in to police on Tuesday while denying all 13 charges filed against her. 

She reportedly cried while in detention on Tuesday night, prompting officers to monitor her based on concerns that she might harm herself. 

Sources close to the case have said Sasithorn was just a nominee owning the business on paper but not in practice. The Criminal Court yesterday rejected her bail request. 

Metropolitan police commissioner Pol Lt-General Chanthep Sesavej, meanwhile, yesterday instructed all police stations under his supervision to strictly enforce laws relating to night-time entertainment venues. 

He threatened to immediately transfer superintendents of police stations that are found to have been negligent.

Following the raid at Victoria’s, five senior policemen at Wang Thong Lang Police Station were hit with transfer orders. The Metropolitan Police Bureau has already launched an investigation of the policemen amid reports that they might have received bribes, including free sexual services, at the parlour. 

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