Several teachers among arrests in underage sex case

Several teachers among arrests in underage sex case

A man is arrested in Kalasin for allegedly paying for sex with underaged girls - one of nine suspects charged in the case. (Photo: Police TV Facebook)
A man is arrested in Kalasin for allegedly paying for sex with underaged girls - one of nine suspects charged in the case. (Photo: Police TV Facebook)

Nine men, six of them working closely with children, have been arrested and charged as part of a police operation against child sexual exploitation in Kalasin province.

The suspects include a retired teacher, two primary and one high school teachers, a child welfare worker and a university lecturer.

One of the suspects surrendered to police and another was already being held on drug charges at Kalasin provincial prison. The seven others were arrested separately.

Police from the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division (ATPD) apprehended the suspects in the northeastern province on Tuesday. They were wanted on arrest warrants issued by the Criminal Court for enticing girls aged under 18 into lewd activity, regardless of whether consent was given, and depriving girls aged 15 to 18 years of parental care for commercial and sexual purposes.

Pol Maj Gen Wiwat Khamchamnan, ATPD commander, said the arrests followed earlier arrests in Kalasin of people involved in human trafficking. Police then extended the investigation leading to the nine arrests. One of them surrendered to police at ATPD sub-division 3 and another one was being held at Kalasin provincial prison, he said.

Police later identified the suspects as Changwat, 48, a university lecturer;  Thongchai, 60, a teacher at a primary school; Thotsaphon, 49, a teacher at a primary school; Surachai, 45, a municipal technician;  Uthai, 68, a retired teacher of Buddhism, Apirak, 38, a road maintenance worker; Sarayut, 37, a teacher at a high school; Jirapong, 37, a child welfare worker who turned himself in to police; and Krisanat, 44, who was being held in Kalasin provincial prison. Surnames were withheld.

Police investigators alleged Mr Uthai had opened his house as a gathering place for former students after his retirement. He had pretended to arrange jobs for students, but allegedly this involved taking them to provide sex services for customers, mostly  local government officials.

During questioning, most suspects denied the charges. However, some confessed due to firm evidence against them.  

Pol Col Manoon Kaewkam, superintendent of ATPD sub-division 3, said most of the suspects denied the charges. They insisted they had not bought sexual services from those girls and had been wrongly implicated.

Police investigators were confident the case against them would hold up in court, a police source said.

Pol Col Manoon said. said one of the men had been arrested in possession of 4,000 methamphetamine pills in June. The man had allegedly threatened a girl, warning her not to implicate him in the sexual abuse case.

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