A former MP’s elder brother has been arrested over allegations that he was linked to a North-based prostitution gang that lured hill-tribal girls into the flesh trade via social media. He maintained that he was innocent and would testify only on court.
The 65-year-old Boonyasit Rungthanakiat was arrested at a Bangkok hotel’s car park, as police responded to an arrest warrant issued by the Chiang Mai court on June 12. Charges include human trafficking and procuring girls under 18 into prostitution. The arrest was announced in a Friday press conference at Bangkok’s Crime Suppression Division.
Boonyasit is the elder brother of former Pheu Thai Party’s Surin MP Kasem Rungthanakiat.
The arrest stemmed from discovery of three sex workers aged under 18 during a March search operation of “So Nice” karaoke bar in Chiang Mai’s Muang district by the Provincial Police Region 5 officers and Social Development and Human Security Ministry officials.
A police probe then found seven additional karaoke bar branches in Chiang Mai under the helm of Boonyasit that allegedly committed similar offences.
The operation had netted six suspects while Boonyasit eluded police until they learned he was laying low in Bangkok and arrested him this week.
The gang allegedly lured hill-tribal girls or migrant workers via social media with a promise of a job paying as high as Bt50,000 monthly, and them forced them to instead provide sex services.
Police expect Boonyasit to be sent to Chiang Mai’s Mae Ping Police Station as legal actions proceed.