Police in Northern Thailand’s Chiang Mai city have arrested a 33-year-old unemployed dance teacher for possessing offensive images of children.
He was arrested after police joined forces with Thailand Internet Crimes Against Children (TICAC) task force raided his house. Police were tipped off about his internet activities involving downloading offensive images of young children.
Officials arrested the owner, Chai (last name withheld), after they found offensive images of children in two laptop computers. They also found two mobile telephones and several USB flash drives and SD cards.
Chai reportedly admitted that he had downloaded all the materials after joining a group on Line app.
Investigation also revealed that the suspect used to be a dance teacher at a private school in Chiang Mai. However he unemployed after his teaching contract with the school ended.
Chai was charged with possessing child pornographic material. His crime carries a maximum punishment of five years jail time, or Bt100,000 fine, or both.
Meanwhile many online forums netizens have questioned the nationality of the arrested teacher. Because news sources did not stipulate the dance teachers nationality.
Police will also investigate the Line group for possible involvement in human trafficking.
Online child abuse cases skyrocketing in Thailand
Online child abuse cases in Thailand are set to hit a record high this year, with cyber predators exploiting the covid-19 crisis to commit Crimes Against Children
The ICAC task force has launched its “Save Children Operation” during Covid-19 situation when computer-related crimes have spiked. In 56 days of operations in 24 provinces, they have made 47 arrests. They have helped 100 victims, as well as seized more than 150,000 offensive images of children.
“Children aren’t going to school and cyber predators are taking advantage of this to look for income during unemployment,” Thakoon Nimsomboon, head of TICAC, said.
The global spread of cheap, high-speed internet and the rise in mobile phone ownership has fueled crimes by cyber predators in recent years. Children from Thailand to the Philippines are being exploited over live-streams for paying cyber predators worldwide.
Officials and activists have seen child cyber predator abuse worsen under the coronavirus pandemic. Above all as families have struggled to earn a living. Children have been left at home and online, fueling calls for better child education on internet safety.
Australian Women Arrested for Shoplifting in Chiang Mai
Also this week police arrested a 38 year-old Australian women for shoplifting goods The shop owner reported 5 pairs of 100 baht sunglasses and a 150 baht purse stolen.
Police said that after viewing CCTV footage, the shop owner saw the Australian woman had put the items into her purse and had driven away. The license plate was clearly visible of her car so she took the CCTV footage to the Chiang Mai police.
Chiang Mai Police then tracked her car on CCTV footage across the city and found her staying at a guesthouse near Wat Phra Singh.
They then secured an arrest warrant from the Chiang Mai Provincial Court and proceeded to the guesthouse to arrest the Australian woman. The Australian woman was identified as 38 year old Emily Catherine Duffel.
She was taken to Phong Police Station in Muang Chiang Mai where she will be formally charged with theft.
The Australian woman now faces imprisoned for up to 3 years and a fine of 6,000 Baht, according to Thai Media.