Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Chuvit speaks up ‘to fight trafficking’

Jan 18. 2018
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former massage parlour owner tells police real owner of Victoria’s at large.

FORMER massage-parlour tycoon Chuvit Kamolvisit yesterday handed over evidence to back his claim that the real owner of the massage parlour Victoria’s: The Secret Forever remains at large. 

Authorities are cracking down on the massage parlour in Bangkok’s Huai Khwang district on suspicion that it engaged in underage prostitution and human trafficking after a recent raid on the premises.

On Wednesday, authorities denied allegations that the crackdown was politically motivated.

At least seven suspects have already been detained in connection with the case, including Sasithorn Weerathepsuporn, a major shareholder and the licence-holder of the business. “It’s strange that the name of the real owner has not been mentioned at all,” said Chuvit, a previous owner of Victoria’s.

As a present-day news host, Chuvit reiterated yesterday that he had sold the massage parlour to Kampol Weerathepsuporn, not Sasithorn.

“I have not even seen Sasithorn before. Documents about the purchase should qualify as evidence,” he said after emerging from meeting with police. 

Police started investigating Victoria’s after the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) and military raided the venue on January 12. 

The testimony of female workers rounded up in the raid strongly suggested that the venue had engaged in prostitution and some sex workers were underage. 

Chuvit said he had decided to speak up about the real owner in the hope of supporting the country’s anti-human trafficking efforts. 

After Chuvit mentioned Kampol’s name on TV, police invited him to a meeting yesterday. He spent more than five hours with police. 

Deputy National Police Commissioner Pol General Srivara Ransibrahmanakul said Chuvit’s information had been useful.

“But it’s not enough to issue an arrest warrant for Kampol. Immigration police’s records show Kampol is still in Thailand,” he said. 

Evidence and testimony from 90 people was solid enough for police to obtain arrest warrants for three more suspects who were cashiers at Victoria’s, he added. They were identified as Supatra Sarad, Yanisa Prombutr and Pratuang Tutrasang. 

Pol Lt-Colonel Supat Thamthanarug, who heads the DSI Bureau of Human Trafficking Crime, said he was in the process of taking over the Victoria’s case from police. 

He said he hoped Wang Thong Lang Police Station, whose jurisdiction covers Victoria’s, would quickly hand over the case to ensure the ongoing investigation proceeds smoothly. 

“My bureau has already invited relevant authorities such as the Anti-Money Laundering Office and the Social Development and Human Security Ministry to serve as advisers in this case,” he added. 

Srivara said it would take about three days to transfer the case because police would act on written notice.

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