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Modelling agency boss surrenders on human-trafficking charges

NINEW MODELLING boss and former magician Kerdmai Ruayjingna on Wednesday surrendered to police to hear charges including human trafficking following a court’s issuance of arrest warrants for him and two alleged accomplices on Tuesday.

The 44-year-old did not comment to reporters outside the Anti-Human Trafficking Division (AHTD) office before going into an interrogation room.
Police also brought modelling manager Panwarot “Ninew” Kuabkoom, 34, who was arrested at 5pm on Tuesday while she was waiting to appear on a television show to the AHTD office, although she was put in a room separate from Kerdmai.
AHTD chief Pol Maj-General Kornchai Klayklueng on Tuesday secured the arrest warrants for Kerdmai, Panwarot and another woman, Monreudee In-on, on charges of conspiring in human trafficking and seeking to profit from sex acts committed by minors under the Anti-Human Trafficking Act and the Child Protection Act 2013. 
Following Panwarot’s arrest, Kornchai told reporters that she had initially denied wrongdoing although she admitted to police that modelling employees had performed sexy dance shows at four or five night entertainment venues frequented by foreigners for almost a year. The agency reportedly earned Bt30,000 per night. 
Kornchai said the agency’s activities were also being scrutinised by an Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) investigation and subject to asset seizures after AMLO was contacted by police.
Kerdmai and Panwarot are at the centre of a scandal after video clips of two female dancers being slapped in the face by Panwarot and other employees went viral online. The young women were reportedly slapped for undisclosed breaches of agency rules. 
On Monday, four alleged victims lodged police complaints with the AHTD, accusing Kerdmai of forcing them to provide sex services for venue customers. Kerdmai denied the charges in a television interview aired on Monday night. 

Published : September 20, 2017

By : The Nation