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Cover-up fears: no arrests yet over underage prostitutes case


Six police among suspects interviewed; reports of moves to protect ‘big names’

NO ARREST warrants had been issued for officers and officials allegedly involved in the Mae Hong Son child prostitution scandal |yesterday, raising suspicions that there has been an effort to protect high-ranking figures.
Commissioner of the Provincial Police Region 5 Pol Lt-General Poonsap Prasertsak said earlier that warrants would be issued |yesterday, but as of press time this had not happened. 
Instead, some of those suspected of buying the services of child prostitutes were summoned to Mae Hong Son police station yesterday. 
Six of the suspects were police officers – with one allegedly confessing to the crime and implicating two others – while another was a teacher. One of the officers was said to be a police lieutenant colonel. 
The suspects were told to |prepare cash for bail ahead of |warrants being issued.
One reporter claimed there had been an attempt to hush up the case, with officers withholding information.
Journalists were told that some providers of underage girls had been approached by police officers who tried to negotiate with them not to mention the “big names” involved in the case in return for their help in keeping them out of jail.

‘Threat to provincial bureaucracy’
A source in Mae Hong Son police said that high-ranking police officers and senior Interior Ministry officers were involved |in buying the services of child |prostitutes.
The source added that if the investigation team pursued the case thoroughly and honestly, there would be so many suspects arrested at the top level that the bureaucratic work of Mae Hong Son would face disruption.
One of the prostitutes, whose name cannot be revealed, said that in the recent years sex tours to Mae Hong Son had become very popular among the high-ranking officials who usually visit the province during winter for work and travel.
“Up to 90 per cent of the high-ranking officers who visited or transferred to Mae Hong Son used to buy our services. It was just like the ‘must-do’ activity when they come here to buy a ‘sweet treat’, so there was a system to allocate young girls for these officers and friends,” she said.

Published : April 30, 2017

By : TOSSAPHON BOONPHAT THE NATION