333 at the beach
333 at the beach Pro Property Partners British International School, Phuket
The Phuket News Novosti Phuket Khao Phuket

Login | Create Account | Search

Man arrested in Phuket for child sex trafficking

Man arrested in Phuket for child sex trafficking

PHUKET: An unnamed man was arrested at Phuket airport on charges of child sex trafficking, Phuket Immigration reported yesterday (May 20). The arrest warrant was issued just eight days after a raid at Velvet Bar in Patong exposed a nationwide child sex trafficking ring with foreign beneficiaries and customers, though Phuket Immigration didn’t confirm if the May 20 arrest was linked to the high-profile investigation.

By The Phuket News

Sunday 21 May 2023, 09:00AM

Phuket Immigration officers with the suspect arrested on child sex trafficking charges yesterday (Mar 20). Image: Phuket Immigration Checkpoint

Phuket Immigration officers with the suspect arrested on child sex trafficking charges yesterday (Mar 20). Image: Phuket Immigration Checkpoint

The arrest of the alleged child sex trafficker was announced on the Phuket Immigration Checkpoint Facebook page, which primarily covers the anti-criminal activities of Immigration Bureau officers working at Phuket airport.

According to the report, the arrest of the alleged sex trafficker took place at 7.30am on that day (May 20) at the International Arrivals zone of the airport.

Since Phuket airport does not operate any flights during the night, this was the very beginning of the airport’s working day, with only one international flight having landed in Phuket by that time. The flight in question was Qatar Airways QR842 from Doha, which arrived ahead of schedule at 7:25 am, according to FlightRadar24 website.

The suspect, whose name and nationality have not been revealed, was arrested on Phuket Provincial Court’s warrant number Jor-141/2566 issued on Mar 23, 2023.

The Phuket office of the Immigration Bureau provided the following description of the charges against the suspect: "taking away a minor over 15 years but not yet over 18 years of age from the parent, guardian, or caretaker for obscene actions even with the consent of the minor, and taking away a minor over 15 years but not yet over 18 years of age from the parent, guardian, or caretaker for indecent actions even with the consent of the minor."

These charges fall under Section 319 of the Criminal Code, commonly known as "child sex trafficking."

Patong in nationwide sex trafficking network

Phuket Immigration did not provide further details on the specific investigation that led to the Phuket Provincial Court issuing warrant number Jor-141/2566 on Mar 23, 2023.

However, the date aligns chronologically with the ongoing high-profile investigation into a child sex trafficking network.

On Mar 15, the Department of Provincial Administration (DOPA) raided Velvet Bar on Soi Sea Dragon in Patong which had been offering underage girls as prostitutes to foreign customers. Police began a full-scale investigation overseen by Deputy Commander of the Royal Thai Police Gen Surchate Hakparn.

On Mar 18, Gen Surchate Hakparn, visited Phuket and announced that the Velvet Bar raid had exposed a nationwide child sex trafficking network operating in other tourist areas of the country. According to Gen Surchate’s statement, by Mar 18, the police had already identified three key leaders of the criminal network.

On Mar 30, Gen Surchate returned to Phuket to announce that his officers had arrested three foreigners for purchasing underage Thai girls for sex, while three other suspects wanted for the same offense had already fled the country.

Arrest warrants had been issued for those three and police had identified 109 other customers who had paid for sex with minors, Gen Surachate added on Mar 30.

Ronnie Peterhitch, believed to be the leader of the child sex trafficking network that included Velvet, Model, Bangla Beach, and Strip Phuket Bars in Patong, had also left the country and remained at large as of Mar 30.

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

* (Not Hotmail/Outlook)

Kurt | 24 May 2023 - 00:09:37

No Gerry, I am not a expert. But we all know that things in that field not have changed for the better. In contrary. That story book is still actual. How else the young underaged from poor families in rual provinces get at Patong/Pattaya and do sex work in the vicinity of many high ranking RTP officers? I further not reply to you any more.

GerryT81 | 23 May 2023 - 14:56:52

@Kurt   If you think that reading a book published almost 20 years ago with a story from the last century would make you an expert, then you are by far more naive than I thought. You better keep commenting about the weather. More easy for you,just look out of the window. 

Kurt | 23 May 2023 - 08:58:23

Gerry, talking about being naive, sorry that you missed the 'jokeble sarcasm' about the 51% writing. :-).  Reality of this business? Suggest to read the book: "My name Lon, You like me?" A true story. Published by Bangkok Book House, printed in Thailand, www.bangkokbooks.com.

GerryT81 | 22 May 2023 - 17:38:58

51 % per Thai law ? Jeez Kurt, how naive are you ? Do you think they run that business as an officially registered company ? Better stop commenting on this issue.You are totally clueless.

Kurt | 22 May 2023 - 10:10:33

Name .Ronnie Peterhitch.. goes around, why not mentioned name/nationality of arrested man on the photo? Probably Thai, hiding that in trying to save 'national face'. Impossible that this sex child trafficking ring business was in hands foreigners. Must be at least 51% Thai by law :-). It are Thai who roam Thai provinces to catch girls/boys 'sold' by mothers due to poverty.

Kurt | 22 May 2023 - 00:16:54

It doesn't need much imagination to understand that influencial Thai people and RTP beat the drums between 18-30 March in order to 'warn' Phuket network leader(s), Thai and Foreigners. Gen Surchate did his best. Made even 2 trips to Phuket. Ronnie Peterhitch will thank him, and never return. Now influencials who 'visited' underages girls are out of the wind. Bravo. 

christysweet | 21 May 2023 - 20:43:37

Some good sleuthing there TPN on entry  flight.   I wonder  at the secrecy of the name, usually  they are paraded about. I still hate having 15 yo females be called girls and not have autonomy on their sex decisions.  Why  do we never hear of  young males being controlled?  I concede  it is conditions of criminalization that makes it unsafe and prone to exploitation. 

Capricornball | 21 May 2023 - 18:54:28

The list of professions reserved for Thais should also include sex trafficking, with most of those involved in the trade likely to be "influential" sorts, whom could not ply their trade without protections from officials and the RTP. And also surprising that identity protections for these predators is greater than for your average drunk driver that plows into a crowd of people.

Fascinated | 21 May 2023 - 10:53:24

JohnC avoids the real issue yet again just to whinge about thais. time to John Denver Mr Bitter. Does he condone sex trafficking?

Kurt | 21 May 2023 - 10:36:19

JohnC, it are all lower rank officials who have their day of 'photo fame'. Now, question: Are the 5 removed Colonels Patong police station interrigated about how much was their knowledge of this child sex trafficking network at a few hundred metres distance of Patong police station? It is impossible that RTP had no knowledge about it. Hundreds of customers brought in, just 109 identified. ...

Timothy | 21 May 2023 - 10:21:06

I remember reading several articles over the years of underage girls being found in Bangkok "massage" parlors owned by "influential Thai's" and having Police listed as clients. Never read about any sex trafficking charges or charges against the police who took advantage of the young girls. Those stories just faded away without follow up. 

JohnC | 21 May 2023 - 09:06:48

Speaking of fragile egos in uniform wanting to get their faces in news story photos...


Have a news tip-off? Click here


Phuket community
Phuket cannabis businesses call for support

Absolutely it was never approved for recreational usage, but that provision got bent over backwar...(Read More)

Phuket Opinion: Facing down the taxi cartels

K Somchart is a brave man.. if he can change this then chapeaux.... just hope he will stay safe an...(Read More)

Phuket cannabis businesses call for support

stop issuing licences, stop online sell ( you can buy it anywhere online and could well be school k...(Read More)

Phuket Opinion: Facing down the taxi cartels

Perhaps the most widely held sentiment in Thailand is associated with the near universal disgust peo...(Read More)

Russian tourist drowns at Patong Beach

Same same, different year...some things will never change. Dangerous beaches, clueless visitors, and...(Read More)

Lao activist’s killing in Isan raises questions

Thailand's military regime is, and has always been incapable of conducting a "credible and ...(Read More)

Prayut allays fears over transfer of power

Now, MFP and Pheu Thai huddle/row over House Speaker job. In a democratic coalition they should givi...(Read More)

Russian tourist drowns at Patong Beach

Seen the weather predictions, the Life Guards should have been already patrolling that time. Not a s...(Read More)

Further crackdown on illegal foreigners underway

Raise Phuket image as safe/desirable(?) destination, better start sanation of PLTO/taxi cartels. The...(Read More)

Further crackdown on illegal foreigners underway

If everything starts with law full functioning Immigration, not provoking their own laws, like provi...(Read More)