Thursday, December 12, 2019

Warrant issued for absconding owner of Victoria’s parlour

Jan 19. 2018
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THE CRIMINAL Court yesterday issued an arrest warrant for Kampol Weerathepsuporn, 61, the alleged real owner of the massage parlour Victoria’s: The Secret Forever.

He faces 12 charges, including procuring prostitution and human trafficking. 

Police have contacted the Immigration Bureau to find him and prevent him from leaving the country. 

The court also approved an arrest warrant for his wife, Nipa Weerathepsuporn, 68 on the same charges.

Kampol was identified as the owner of the parlour by former massage parlour owner Chuvit Kamolvisit.

Meanwhile, officials from an anti-graft agency yesterday interviewed alleged sex workers rounded up after last week’s raid to find out if they had provided services to police or state officials.

Lt-Colonel Kornthip Daroj, the acting secretary-general of the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC), led officials to conduct the fact-finding interviews at the Bangkok Children and Family Home in Ratchathewee district where 24 alleged sex workers aged 18-27 (20 from Myanmar and four from Laos) and one Thai staff member are kept. 

The move followed discovery of documents reportedly indicating bribe payments during the raid and recent reports suggesting that state officials had used sexual services at the venue in the Huai Khwang district free of charge. 

Meanwhile, Human Trafficking Division officials from the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) collected the 3,500-page case report from police yesterday afternoon to officially take over the case. 

A police officer yesterday carries the 3,500-page report in the case of the Bangkok-based Victoria’s: The Secret Forever massage parlour, which is at the centre of an underage prostitution and human trafficking scandal. The files were handed over to the Human Trafficking Division of the Department of Special Investigation at the police headquarters. 

Division deputy chief Pol Lt-Colonel Kritthat Aoumson said DSI aimed to finish its investigations within the legal time frame of 84 days before passing the case on to public prosecutors.

DSI chief Pol Colonel Paisit Wongmuang said the forensic report about contents inside three safe boxes seized during the raid would be complete next week. 

Declining to give details of the testimonies, Kornthip said the PACC would try to find evidence against the involved state officials and determine if the PACC had the authority to probe them. This would take 90 days to complete.

Amid scepticism that investigation into the case will end up like the Natari massage parlour case after a raid in 2016, that did not lead to punishment of any official, Kornthip clarified that the Natari case was still being probed by the PACC. He said the PACC was now awaiting information from the DSI and administrators about the state officials who allegedly took bribes or even used sex services at Victoria’s.

In his capacity as secretary-general of the Centre for National Anti-Corruption (CNAC), Kornthip said the CNAC had already sent a letter to the Royal Thai Police to set up a committee to probe the parlour’s documents and report the results back to CNAC. The documents reportedly point to bribe payments and carry the initials or nicknames of the alleged corrupt police officers. 

Immigration Bureau commissioner Pol Lt-General Sutthipong Wongpin, meanwhile, urged the public not to worry, as the authorities were checking the bribe-taking documents which reportedly included payments to officers under the Immigration Bureau. “Whoever is involved in wrongdoing will be punished,” he said.

Authorities are cracking down on Victoria’s on suspicion that it engaged in underage prostitution and human trafficking after the DSI and military raided the venue on January 12. They rounded up more than 100 women and girls suspected of working as prostitutes there – of whom at least 11 girls were later found by preliminary tests to be under 18. 

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, who turned herself in to police on Tuesday. 

Following the raid, five senior policemen at the Wang Thong Lang Police Station, which has jurisdiction over the area where the massage parlour operated, were hit with transfer orders. The Metropolitan Police Bureau 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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