Police nab five involved in online underage sex ring

Police nab five involved in online underage sex ring

Deputy tourist police chief Pol Maj Gen Surachet Hakpan (standing third from left) show human-trafficking suspects at a briefing on Saturday. (Photo by Yuttapong Kumnodnae)
Deputy tourist police chief Pol Maj Gen Surachet Hakpan (standing third from left) show human-trafficking suspects at a briefing on Saturday. (Photo by Yuttapong Kumnodnae)

UDON THANI: A joint force has arrested two suspected members of a gang selling underage sex on Facebook and three alleged buyers in this northeastern province.

Three victims -- two boys and a girl -- were rescued while two alleged pimps and three suspected buyers were arrested, Pol Maj Gen Surachet Hakpan, deputy tourist police chief, told a briefing in the province where soldiers and administrative officials also took part.

“A South Korean man has fled and we have evidence to make a hundred more arrests,” he said.

Surasak Kunanan, 35, a native of the province, and Klaiwut Saengbundit, 44, of Nong Bua Lam Phu, were accused of human trafficking for prostitution involving persons under 15 and those aged 15-18. They confessed in the interrogation stage.

The offences are punishable by 6-15 years in jail and a fine of 600,000 baht to 1.5 million baht, Pol Maj Gen Surachet said.

The suspected buyers in February and March who were arrested were Piwat Chanset, 34, of Bangkok and Morakot Yotpimpa, 30, of Loei, and Vitthaya Tanurat, 62, of Udon Thani. Another suspect, a South Korean man, had already left Thailand but police had issued a warrant for his arrest and blacklisted him.

They were accused of rape and having sex with persons of 15-18 years old, punishable by 2-10 years in prison and a fine of 40,000 to 200,000 baht.

Pol Maj Gen Surachet said authorities in the provinces and Bangkok, as well as non-government organisations, had helped track down the suspects and helped the victims.

“They made offers on Facebook Messenger or Line chat applications,” he said.

“We had someone impersonating a buyer, which led to the arrest of Mr Surasak while bringing two boys aged 13 and 15 to a hotel in Udon Thani. Mr Klaiwut was also caught bringing a 16-year-old girl to an apartment in the same province.

Sources said they were deceived into selling sex for 2,000 baht the first time. The two boys were sent back to their families while the girl was put under the care of the Social Development and Human Security Ministry.

“We’ll continue to widen the net on both the procurers and buyers since we have evidence to implicate hundreds more to stop human trafficking,” he said.



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