Bringing Light to the Darkness of Human Trafficking (Trafficking in Persons)

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Police are convinced the owners of a brothel embroiled in a human trafficking scandal have not left the country and have intensified their efforts to hunt them down.

The Criminal Court has approved a police request for a warrant to arrest Kampol Wirathepsuporn and his wife, known as Mrs Nipa, who own Victoria's Secret Massage, the parlour at the centre of the case which has been linked to human trafficking. Police said both face 12 charges.

The arrest warrant has been put into databases of all police units as police seek information about their movements and whereabouts.

A police source said Mr Kampol has a house in tambon Lak Hok in Pathum Thani's Muang district, though police still have no plans to search the house.

Police are finding out if he has other houses in Bangkok or other provinces, the source said.

The source said checks have found the couple had not yet left the country via immigration checkpoints. The Immigration Bureau has been asked to keep an eye out for the couple.

DSI director-general Paisit Wongmuang yesterday denied rumours Mr Kampol had asked to surrender to the DSI.

Pol Col Paisit said the DSI had taken over the case from Wang Thong Lang police to treat it as a special investigation after evidence emerged pointing to a suspected human trafficking network behind the massage parlour's business.

DSI deputy director-general Songsak Raksaksakul said a team of DSI investigators handling the case will meet tomorrow to discuss an approach to their investigation and examine investigation reports from police.

Previously, the Centre for National Anti-Corruption (CNAC) asked the Royal Thai Police (RTP) to investigate state officials who allegedly took bribes from brothel operators.

In a raid last Friday on the premises on Rama IX Road in Huai Khwang district, authorities say they found the pair were illegally operating a brothel with underage girls being forced to offer sex services.

Police also found evidence that several police officers received bribes in the form of free sexual services.

Following the raid, authorities widened the probe and later found 20 state officials, including senior police, were implicated in documents found at the parlour.

Lt Col Kornthip Daroj, acting secretary-general of the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) in his capacity as secretary of the CNAC, previously said that the investigation could expose a human trafficking network.

Lt Col Kornthip admitted it will be time-consuming to establish the identities of the suspected officials as their full names were not included on the list of patrons. Only their nicknames were given.

A CNAC source yesterday said the panel had spoken to the women working at Victoria's Secret Massage, but the women could not confirm the identities of customers with nicknames on the customer list saying "they didn't remember them".

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