Senior police officers face charges for allegedly shielding teen girls’ traffickers
By Piyanuch Thamnukasetchai for The Nation on 25 December 2017,
The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) is preparing to recommend criminal proceedings against three commissioned police officers for their alleged distortion of an investigation report and intention to help human traffickers.
A source said yesterday the police officers had been trying to treat a case involving the Chomdao Karaoke entertainment venue as a prostitution case, instead of human trafficking, probably because they had received bribes.
“Two of them are police colonels and the other is a police captain,” the source said.
According to the source, the DSI Bureau of Human Trafficking Crime would propose that DSI chief Pol Colonel Paisit Wongmuang forward a report on the investigation against the policemen to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) for further criminal action.
The DSI has already charged the policemen with dereliction of duty and violating anti-human trafficking laws.
“Although they were not directly involved in human trafficking, they tried to help human traffickers,” the source said.
The charges against the policemen are related to Chomdao Karaoke in Kanchanaburi’s Muang district. On October 14, 2015, administrative officials with the support from several agencies raided the venue and found seven girls from the Tai Yai ethnic minority and two Thai men – as well as a list of officials who had allegedly been bribed.
The raid was conducted based on a tip-off that while Chomdao Karaoke operated as a karaoke bar, it was a front for illegal sex work.
The Tai Yai girls were later portrayed as 19-year-old women who had willingly engaged in sex work. But the DSI found that the girls were just between 14 and 15 years old and their exploitation constituted human-trafficking offences.
If convicted of disrupting legal proceedings against human traffickers, the accused policemen face up to 10 years in jail, a maximum fine of Bt200,000 or both.