Patpong 2 Raid

Prostitutes Say Officials Took Bribes

Bangkok Post, July 24, 2003

Prostitutes say officials took bribes
Sunthorn Pongpao

Prostitutes rounded up at a nightspot owned by a local politician have accused local officials of taking 40,000 baht in bribes every month from their workplace.

In response, the provincial governor ordered the nightspot in Lat Bua Luang district to be shut down for 30 days, launched an inquiry into the bribe allegations, and ordered licence checks of entertainment places in the province.

Early yesterday, the province's anti-mafia task force arrested 17 suspected sex workers at the Patpong 2 nightspot in Lat Bua Luang market only 100m away from the district police station.

The women, who appeared unafraid, said the place belonged to a local politician who had paid bribes of up to 40,000 baht a month to local officials for at least four years.

The nightspot had never been raided before, they said.

Manager Id Prathumnak, 45, and cashier Kesanee Dasamut, 23, were charged with enabling prostitution. Five of the women - three of them Cambodian nationals - were charged with prostitution. They admitted the charges.

Police inquiries showed Patpong 2 belonged to a member of a tambon administration organisation in Nakhon Pathom's Bang Len district. The man also owned six brothels in an area straddling Ayutthaya and Nakhon Pathom.

Ayutthaya governor Surapol Kanchanajittra said Patpong 2 would be closed for 30 days.

A probe team was set up to look into the bribe allegations, and to identify and seek legal action against corrupt officials.

The province would identify the owner and submit a report to the governor of Nakhon Pathom, said Mr Surapol.

Chiefs of all 16 districts in Ayutthaya were told to check the licences of all entertainment places in the province. Initially, those found to have committed legal violations would be closed for 30 days, said the governor.

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