Sex-ring evidence 'getting lost'

Sex-ring evidence 'getting lost'

The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) is being hindered from receiving evidence relating to the sex-trafficking ring in Mae Hong Son that allegedly involves a number of state officials, the Federation of Assistant District Chiefs of Thailand said.

Federation chairman Boonyarit Nipawanit said yesterday some evidence has "got lost" en route to the NACC and other state agencies, according to his examination of the case.

The evidence, which includes accounts of underage victims being lured into the sex trade in the province, implicates both state officials and police officers, he said.

Mr Boonyarit also serves as an assistant district officer in Mae Hong Son's Mae Sariang district. Despite reports online that 200 people plan to gather at his office to demand he step down over his poor handling of the case, he said he will continue to work to rid the province of illegal sex services.

He said earlier there was a tradition of offering sex services to please senior officials assuming new positions in the area. Among the suspects are Mae Hong Son governor Suebsak Iamwicharn, who is accused of involvement in the sex ring, which is believed to have ties to human trafficking in the North.

The allegation prompted Interior Minister Gen Anupong Paojinda to launch a probe into some high-ranking officials, including the province's former governor Pipat Ekphaphan.

Photos of Mr Pipat, who now governs Uttaradit, have surfaced showing him embracing a naked girl in an unidentified location. He claims the images were doctored.

"I know who did that," Mr Pipat said, adding he is now gathering evidence against those responsible.

UN agencies have called for the sex-ring case to be handled in a fair and transparent way, with no interference.

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