The operation, carried out by the DSI along with the military and local police officers, was not instructed by anyone on high, neither was it an order from the Justice Minister, the permanent secretary for justice or the DSI chief, said DSI deputy chief Songsak Raksaksakul.
“Even though in an intelligence report our investigators have shown that the group of [real] massage parlour owners, who are not nominees of anyone else, are connected with certain politicians in the North and West forming a new political party, Friday’s raid on the parlour really had nothing to do with politics,” he said.
“They [politicians] have tried to portray this operation as politically motivated revenge, even though they actually had violated the law,” he said.
A source said there had been attempts to link last Friday’s raid on Victoria's Secret Massage with politics by suggesting that the raid was intended to force this political group to turn to support Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha in becoming prime minister again after the general election.
The source said that Lt Col Supat Thamthanarug, director of the DSI’s Bureau of Human Trafficking Crime, went to Wang Thong Lang Police Station yesterday (Jan 17) to take over the investigation from detectives there after DSI chief Col Paisit Wongmuang approved a proposal for the DSI to take up the Victoria’s Secret Massage case for investigation and treat it as a special criminal case.
In last Friday’s raid, more than 80 women found there are believed to have been forced into prostitution.
Authorities widened the investigation and later allegedly discovered that 20 state officials including senior police were implicated in documents, found at the parlour, which could expose a human trafficking network.
Since the Victoria’s Secret Massage case was clearly a human trafficking one because it involves child prostitutes, Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwon has instructed all relevant authorities to consider taking the toughest possible legal action against people found to be involved in this human-trafficking network, Defence Ministry spokesman Kongcheep Tantravanich said yesterday.
It is government policy to work harder to stamp out human trafficking and bring those behind this illegal business to justice, particularly those who are state officials, he said.
Col Songsak also revealed that at least four girls aged under 18 were found in a screening last Sunday (Jan 14) conducted on the people detained during the raid and were believed to be prostitutes working at the parlour.
At least two other underage girls were found to have been forced into prostitution, Col Songsak said.
This is clear evidence that the Victoria’s Secret Massage case involves human trafficking, he said.
The DSI is in the process of gathering more evidence to back its planned request for arrest warrants for two other major shareholders in the company that operates the massage parlour, he said.
On Tuesday (Jan 16), Sasithorn Wirathepsuporn, 45, a key shareholder of Amarin Onsen Limited Partnership, which operates the massage parlour, was accompanied by her lawyer when she turned herself in to deputy national police chief Srivara Ransibrahmanakul at the Royal Thai Police.
Sasithorn, who is facing an arrest warrant on various charges including colluding in human-trafficking, was yesterday denied bail.
She was then remanded and transferred to the Central Women Correctional Institution in Chatuchak district where she will remain in custody, a source said.
She appeared tense, suffering from lack of sleep and cried all the time before being taken to the Criminal Court yesterday afternoon when police investigators requested the court’s permission to further detain her during the ongoing investigation, the source said.
The DSI also plans to invite former politician and broadcaster Chuvit Kamolvisit, who founded Victoria’s Secret Massage, to provide investigators with more information on the parlour’s business, Col Songsak said.
Since Mr Chuvit previously mentioned in public that Sasithorn is only a nominee and that the real owner of the parlour is Kampol Wirathepsuporn after acquiring it from him, he should have more in-depth information that would be useful for the DSI’s probe, Col Songsak said.
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