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Karaoke Bar Owner Busted for Alleged Human Trafficking of Minors in Chiang Rai’s Phan District

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CHIANG RAI – Two Burmese teenagers have been rescued from a karaoke bar in Chiang Rai’s Phan district and a 42 year-old Thai man has been taken into custody for alleged human trafficking.

The raid of karaoke bar on the Chiang Rai-Phayao Road was carried out at 9pm on Tuesday and was led by Interior Ministry’s Department of Provincial Administration (DOPA) legal adviser Mana Simma.

Officials found that the bars were near four modified hotel rooms for customers, who were standing in a queue to use them for sex.

The Sao Phan karaoke bar had several girls who appeared to be under 18 providing sex as well as one Myanmar woman in her 30s.

One 17-year-old said she had to have sex with customers from 8pm to 2am or later if there were still people waiting.

A customer would pay Bt1,100 for a “short time” session, of which Bt500 was deducted by the pimp and Bt100 for the room fee, she said.

“I didn’t get the cash to spend so I had to endure those conditions and keep providing sex or I would have lost the money I earned from previous nights,” she said.

Ronnasit Preukyachiva, the chief investigator for an anti-human trafficking organization, who accompanied the officials in Tuesday’s raid, said his staff had investigated the Sao Phan trafficking case for one month before they alerted the Interior Ministry’s Dhamrongtham Centre.

Police question bar owner, Suthat Thesnam, 46, during the raid that was carried out at 9pm on Tuesday in Phan District.

Mana said the operation rescued two teens, who would be examined to determine their real age before a human trafficking charge was filed.

The bar owner, Suthat Thesnam, 46, was taken in for questioning at the Phan District Office along with a large number of condoms and the bar’s logbooks, which detailed expenses and alleged kickbacks paid to officials at state agencies, he added.

Suthat has been initially charged with running an entertainment venue without a licence and procuring women for prostitution.

By Natthawat Laping