Probe of human trade and child prostitution in Mae Hong Son continues

Investigation into the controversial human trade and child prostitution that allegedly involved senior local police officers, district officers, local politicians, village volunteers and educational personnel continued in Mae Hong Son and Chiang Mai with the Royal Thai Police sending national deputy police chief to follow up the controversy and supervise the investigation.

The deputy police chief, Pol Gen Srivara Rangsiphramanakul ordered immediate suspension from duty of a top local police officer after he didn't repond to police summon for questioning yesterday.

Pol Gen Srivara who flew to Mae Hong Son to supervise the investigation by himself asked Mae Hong Son police chief if Pol Lt Col Mongkol is on official leave or not for not responding to the summons.

But when he was told that the accused officer didn't take official leave and is still on duty, Pol Gen Srivara then considered his absence without reason a serious disciplinary violation.

He then immediately suspended the Mae Hong Son deputy police superintendent from duty.

The officer was accused of buying sex from an underaged girl, not over 18-years-old.

Pol Gen Srivara also led a team of investigators to inspect the suspended officer's lodgings where it was alleged he had sexual intercourse with a young girl. The house was found to be empty with only a bed and bedding, towels and a roll-on deodorant.

He later travelled to the 5th Region Police Headquarters in Chiang Mai province to check on progress on the probe into the syndicate involved in human trade and child prostitution.

He was told that thus far 38 charges have been filed in the case, 30 of which are for human trade offences. A further 7 are for involvement in prostitution while the last is for sexual assault and violation.

Seventeen suspects have been apprehended while another 7, some of whom are police officers, local politicians and senior civil servant, are still at large.

Another allegation that was made against the governor of Mae Hong Son province has not materialized after investigators found no evidence to indicate his involvement in the case.

This correlated with the findings of another investigation that is being simultaneously carried out by the Ministry of Interior with conclusion the governor was innocent.

He was earlier alleged by a mother that he bought sex from her underaged daughter.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)