Child rights advocate on child labour charge
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Child rights advocate on child labour charge

'Khru Yun' accused of physically assaulting children and using child labour at wife's resort

Montree
Montree "Khru Yun" Sinthawichai, secretary-general of the Child Protection Foundation in Amphawa district of Samut Songkhram, reports to police to hear two charges on Thursday. (TV capture)

A prominent child rights advocate accused of physically assaulting children and using child labour reported to police in Samut Songkhram to hear the charges on Thursday.

Montree Sinthawichai, known as Khru Yun, is secretary-general of the Child Protection Foundation in Amphawa district of Samut Songkhram.

He, his wife and their son met police investigators at Amphawa district police station to acknowledge charges of child assault and using child labour.

Mr Montree, a former senator, hit the headlines when activists from the Zendai Foundation took children to file a police complaint against him.

He has been accused of assaulting children under his care and taking them to work at a resort run by his wife.

The allegations prompted the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security to take children into its care and to set up a fact-finding committee to investigate the Child Protection Foundation.

Mr Montree smiled and showed no signs of worry when arriving at the police station on Thursday. He spoke only briefly with reporters, saying everyone was just doing their duty.

Thai media reported that some parents arrived at his foundation in Amphawa district to pick up their children following news of the allegations. 

Samut Songkhram deputy governor Sirisak Sirimangkhala said the Interior Ministry had the authority to examine the registration of foundations. Provincial authorities were tasked with renewing the operating permits of child welfare centres in the province annually.

The Child Protection Foundation's licence expires in January, he said. He would recommend to the governor that it not be renewed.

After questioning, Mr Montree was released on bail on his own recognisance, because he had reported to police promptly after a summons was issued.

Mr Montree denied assaulting any children under his care and promised his full cooperation.

A total of 29 children and young people from the foundation were under the care of the ministry on Thursday. They comprised a first group of eight and another 21 on Wednesday. They were aged from one year to 20 years, according to Thai PBS.

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