Police have arrested eight people charged with purchasing the sexual services of underage boys via a secret LINE group and are withholding their identities due to what the arresting officers say is pressure from influential figures.
The eight suspects, among them a socialite and an unnamed probation official, were charged with supporting prostitution and depriving minors of parental care and were released on THB300,000 (US$9,300) bail last week, police said at a press conference yesterday. The boys in question range from 12 to 16 years of age.
Pol. Maj. Gen. Kornchai Khlaikhlueng, commander of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division, said he would not reveal identities of the suspects, as he had received phone calls from influential figures pleading with him not to do so.
“I’d like to say this. You did it, and you made people call me, asking me not to say who you are at the press conference. These are the famous people in our society,” he said.
“There are two [famous] people. One of them works in the law and he wants a chance to redeem himself. Another one has been an educator all his life.”
“I’m asking you? Why weren’t you ashamed then? You did this to children under the age of 16, who are underprivileged and struggling in this economy.”
Director of the Probation Department Prasarn Mahaleetrakul told local news outlet Manager that the unnamed probation official resigned at the end of July, following the accusation.
Morning News, meanwhile, reported that another famous man is a socialite, who holds a PhD and teaches at a famous university.
The arrests came after police investigated the Facebook account of Namphon Somngam, 27, a former convenience store worker who made public posts recruiting members for the secret chat group.
The LINE group “Love Children” was Namphon’s platform to sell child pornography and arrange sexual encounters with minors.
There were seven boys involved in the prostitution ring. They later helped police identify the suspects.
Namphon, who charged customers THB1,500 (US$45) to have sex with one of the boys, has been charged with human trafficking and disseminating child pornography into the computer system for profits. He’s currently in police custody.
Source : Coconuts