Soldiers led by Col Santi Sakuntanark, Commander of the 25th Infantry Regiment and the highest-ranking army officer stationed in Phuket, raided the Wake Up Club in Patong last Wednesday (June 7).
The club is in a backstreet behind the China Town Plaza on Rat-U-Thit 200 Pi Rd, bordering on the fringe of the Chinatown area off Sai Nam Yen Rd.
Col Santi explained to The Phuket News this morning (June 12) that it was decided to not inform the press about the raid, but the news became public on Friday.
“The media were not informed about this mission at all. It was ‘special enforcement’, but the media eventually found out from police,” Col Santi said.
Joining the raid, carried out at 10pm, were officials from the Kathu District Office and the Patong Police.
Inside the venue officers found hundreds in the audience of what Col Santi called “international tourists”.
On stage were two performers Ms Wanida Chamjai and Mr Monton Jaraypanya, who were subsequently arrested.
“They were preforming a pornographic show on stage. She was in a bikini, but exposing her breasts,” Col Santi said.
Also arrested was club owner Sitthichai Changteang. He was charged for providing a venue for a pornographic show and charged with operating an entertainment venue without a license.
The show openly targetted Chinese tourists.
“Tickets cost B2,500 per person, and there were many shows a day. The venue had about 200 seats,” Col Santi noted.
With its own website WakeUpClub.net (click here) shut down, the club is promoted on Chinese-language websites. One website promoted the main event as the “Tianhuang Show”, with “Tianhuang” meaning “Emperor”. (See website here.)
Ms Wanida along with Mr Monton and Mr Sitthichai were handed over to the Patong Police, Col Santi explained.
“All of them were taken to Patong Police Station for questioning. Right now, they are being investigated by the Patong Police. We might soon learn of a nominee behind the operation,” Col Santi said.
However, Col Santi declined to answer whether Patong Police admitted they knew about the sex show, or whether the Patong Police were questioned why no action had been taken to shut it down.
Asked about any coming action against other sex shows in Phuket, Col Santi said, “I don’t know. That we will have to find out.”
“I have learned of only two places, one was the Wake Up Club, the other is already closed,” he said.
Regardless, Col Santi called for any information that may lead to the closure of other similar shows in Phuket.
“We still need more information from people. This place blocked Thais from going inside, which made it hard to collect information, so it took quite some time to investigate this before we could close it down and we had to keep our investigation secret,” he said.
“Please call me if anyone finds out pornographic shows in Phuket. Once we know about them, we will get to work on them immediately.
“We still need tip-offs to continue our enforcement on this. Please inform me directly by calling 081-6425635,” Col Santi urged.
Additional reporting by Eakkapop Thongtub