Thailand's teen sex ring 'to face justice'

Thailand's teen sex ring 'to face justice'
Deputy national police commissioner Lt-General Srivara Ransibrahmanakul said yesterday that police already had clear evidence against Suebsak but could not yet release details.
PHOTO: The Nation/Asia News Network

Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha has pledged to take action against every culprit in the latest teenage-prostitution scandal, which has already implicated several senior officials.

The scandal broke after a mother came forward to complain that her teenage daughter and several other girls had been coerced into the sex trade in Mae Hong Son province.

The mother and daughter have asked to remain anonymous out of safety concerns.

"I will spare no one. I have already ordered relevant authorities to bring all wrongdoers to justice," Prayut said yesterday.

The scandal has cast a shadow over Mae Hong Song Governor Suebsak Iamwichan and several policemen who allegedly bought sexual services from minors.

The accused now face investigations by various agencies.

Deputy national police commissioner Lt-General Srivara Ransibrahmanakul said yesterday that police already had clear evidence against Suebsak but could not yet release details.

"There is no need to summon him for questioning for the time being because he is already facing an investigation by the Interior Ministry," Srivara said.

Suebsak has denied any wrongdoing, saying that he had evidence to prove his innocence.

"Absolutely, I have never done such a thing. The scandal has hurt my reputation and my family's," he said.

Many local officials have offered moral support for Suebsak, giving him flowers as he fights the allegations.

On Wednesday, six women accused by the anonymous mother of being sex procurers in Mae Hong Son province appeared at a government complaint centre to deny the accusation.

They also said they did not personally know Suebsak.

Suebsak has served as governor of Mae Hong Son since October 1.

His predecessor was Pipat Ekpapan.

After Suebsak dismissed reports that he had sought a child prostitute, there were questions whether the high-profile customer named by the mother could be Pipat.

Several reporters attempted to interview him at Uttaradit City Hall yesterday.

Pipat, who is now the Uttaradit governor, said he would not give any interviews about the scandal in line with an order from the Interior Ministry's permanent secretary.

The Anti-Trafficking in Persons police have arrested three suspects in connection with the scandal, all of whom are accused of being procurers who allegedly coerced the anonymous daughter into the sex trade.

They have denied wrongdoing.

All three are facing human-trafficking charges and are now in detention pending the completion of the police investigation.

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