More alleged procurers arrested in teen hookers case
published : 2 May 2017 at 16:24
Police have arrested five more suspected procurers in the Mae Hong Son teen prostitution case that allegedly involves high-ranking officials as customers.
Meanwhile, in Bangkok, youth protection activists asked that the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) take over the case from police, because with so many local senior officials allegedly involved it was open to "influence".
All five new suspects are natives of Mae Hong Son's Muang district. They were identified as a 30-year-old man, Mongkol Kiatpakdipong, and four women, Pattamaporn Inkaeo, 31, Kanokwan Ratanapakdi, 22, Khwanruethai Rerk-udom, 39, and Kalaya Wuthikhun, 40. There were charged with human trafficking and procuring prostitutes aged 15-18.
Sources said they were suspected of having procured girls for police officers, security officials and administrative officials up to the level of provincial governors since 2014.
Earlier a policeman from Mae Hong Son's Nam Phiang Din station and two women were arrested in the same case. The arrests followed a 43-year-old mother's complaint her 17-year-old daughter had been forced into prostitution by a group of people, and that her earlier complaint to local authorities had been shelved.
One incident allegedly happened at a party to welcome government officials taking up new positions in Mae Hong Son. They were allegedly supplied with teenage girls. The recently appointed Mae Hong Son governor was accused of being a client. The governor was transferred to an inactive position at the Interior Ministry on Monday.
Youth protection activists filed a request with the permanent secretary for justice on Tuesday, asking that the DSI take over the teen prostitution case.
The racket involved many high-ranking officials and policemen still based in Mae Hong Son, activist Ticha Na Nakorn said.
The group also called for efficient witness protection and early witness examination, so that young witnesses in the case could not be influenced later on.
Nothing in the case should be taken for granted, Mrs Ticha said. Many allegedly involved officials remained in the locality. The transfer of the Mae Hong Son governor alone was insufficient action, she said.