Three Pak Chong-based local politicians, who were arrested for allegedly buying sexual services from underage prostitutes in Nakhon Ratchasima province, were transferred to the Anti-Human Trafficking Division (AHTD) head office in Bangkok for further questioning on Wednesday morning, said provincial police chief Pol Maj-General Supakorn Khamsingnok.
After Tuesday’s arrest of three unnamed politicians, police also arrested Pak Chong resort caretaker Winai Jaengploy, 56, reportedly a close aide to a retired military officer, on charges of raping underage girls.
Police were also investigating whether Winai also procured underage girls to provide sexual services to tourists, Supakorn said.
The northeastern province’s police chief has also instructed precincts in 32 districts to send officers to check hotels and “at-risk” establishments to prevent illegal activities, especially prostitution and human trafficking. He also pledged to severely punish any police officers involved with both disciplinary and criminal code actions.
The case stemmed from an AHTD operation in May that rescued a runaway 14-year-old girl and five other underage girls who were lured into prostitution in Nakhon Ratchasima’s Muang district.
The 14-year-old’s mother, 34, filed a complaint with the Pathum Thani-based Pavena Foundation for Women and Children on May 17, saying that her teenage daughter had ran away from home after being invited by a Facebook friend referred to as “Amara Bee” to work in the sex trade in Nakhon Ratchasima.
After the AHTD probe found the runway girl had been staying at a hotel with five friends aged between 14 and 16, they conducted a sting operation to contact the Facebook user by phone and Line ostensibly to purchase sexual services.
Police arrested “Amara Bee” – who out to be a 15-year-old girl seeking commissions by procuring girls – when she turned up at a hotel room with two other 16-year-old girls to collect the promised payment of Bt1,200 for each girl.
Another police team then picked up the 14-year-old and other girls at the other hotel.