The tranquility of Thailand’s picturesque hub for holidaymakers, Hua Hin in the Prachuap Khiri Khan province, was recently disturbed, as a 48-year-old American known only as “Bass” found himself entangled in a police sting operation. Concurrently, his Thai compadre, 34-year-old Kanya whose surname remains undisclosed, was apprehended at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok. The heart of their alleged violations was centered around orchestrating illicit dealings in prostitution.
Uncovering the seeds of their grand scheme was no easy task. It began following a series of lodged complaints made by a handful of unsuspecting tourists, claiming that their evenings had taken a nefarious turn. They alleged having been drugged and dispossessed of their belongings by ladies of the night who were connected to a suspicious platform known as Absolute Angels Bangkok.
The truth, as it turns out, could be hidden in plain sight. The aforementioned website brandished overt advertisements of what it termed as escort services for visitors to Bangkok, along with a smattering of other tourist hotspots. But deep within, a more disconcerting offer was at hand – unabashed prostitution.
Those were essentially the findings presented at a press conference by Immigration Bureau commander Pol Lt-General Phakphumphiphat Sujjapan. The platform raked in an astounding 429,500 unique visits during the course of July and was linked with an impressive network of about 80 escorts spread across Thailand, spanning areas such as Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket, and Chiang Mai, besides Hua Hin.
Stepping into the veil behind the scenes, they found that Kanya wore many hats, including being the alleged website’s administrator. She was charged with a wide range of responsibilities such as accepting reservations, and arranging clandestine trysts involving the escorts with their clientele. As for Bass, he seemingly oversaw the technical aspects that kept the website ticking. Benefiting from the ill-gotten fruits of their operation, both reportedly pocketed a whopping 40% of the payments made by clients.
In the course of the operation, police confiscated an array of assets including four computers, and essential documentation. Among the seized properties were a million-dollar pool villa priced at 15 million baht, a Mercedes-Benz coupe valued at 3.5 million baht, a Honda sedan worth a cool 1.8 million baht, 14 bank passbooks with deposits totaling about 9 million, and a portfolio of Thai stocks estimated around 40 million baht.
This unfortunate incident served to bolster law enforcement’s resolve to ramp up their crackdown. With assistance from the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, measures are being enforced to deny access to such controversial websites. Meanwhile, parallel cases continue to unravel, such as the arrest of a South Korean national going by the name of Jinhong, who was busted for supposedly luring Thai women into South Korea’s sex trade. The 41-year-old was nabbed in Nonthaburi province, following a tip-off by South Korean police about the suspect, initially visiting Thailand on a tourist visa. Following his arrest, police discovered that his computers and bank passbooks, which indicated deposits of over 100 million baht, held crucial information about his deplorable activities.