More accusations of human trafficking swirl around Pattaya karaoke joint

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New controversy swirled around an embattled Pattaya karaoke club, with a former cashier now accused of selling her 13-year-old niece into the sex trade.

Namfon Jongthanakamol, daughter of Somai Jong­thanakamol, who was arrested in a Jan. 8 raid on Nangfa Karaoke, appeared at Pattaya Police Station Sept. 8 to face human-trafficking charges of her own stemming from a March police complaint filed by Nangfa owner Paranisa Chainapanitkul.

She went to Pattaya Provincial Court the following day to formally face charges and was released on 400,000 baht bail.

Paranisa was arrested, then released, in July in what she called a frame-up and extortion attempt by a senior Region 2 police officer. The officer has been suspended pending an investigation into the botched raid.

Namfon told police that she worked at the karaoke joint for a month after her mother was arrested, but quit because Paranisa tried to exploit her niece, who she had brought to Pattaya to work as a tout. Namfon claimed Paranisa barred her from sending the young girl back to her home province and threatened her family’s life. At the same time, the karaoke owner was trying to pimp out the 13-year-old, Namfon claimed.

However, the accusations soon fell flat as the 13-year-old girl appeared at Pattaya Police Station with Paranisa and other women. The girl told officers that, in fact, it was her aunt that brought her to a hotel and forced her to have sex with two men. Paranisa, she said, had stepped in to rescue her.

The sordid back-and-forth between current and former employees – including accusations Paranisa also fired Namfon’s half-sister for theft – just added to the tabloid tale in which alleged police corruption still holds center stage.

After Paranisa accused Pol. Lt. Col. Narawut Karamhito of demanding a 30,000 baht bribe to make trumped-up charges go away, she complained she herself was arrested for not having a business license.

She claimed she had become the target of a witch hunt for going after Narawut, who led a half-dozen officers in a raid on Nangfa July 14, accusing the bar of illegal prostitution and lacking proper licenses.

During the raid, which Paranisa said came after a clumsy and botched setup attempt by an undercover agent, Narawut allegedly claimed he would make the case disappear if Paranisa paid him off.

She, however, picked up the phone and directly contacted Royal Thai Police chief Gen. Chakthip Chaijinda and Region 2 chief Maj. Gen Amphon Buarubporn who told a petulant Narawut to release the karaoke staffers and leave the scene immediately, according to Paranisa.

Narawut was transferred to an inactive post at the Region 2 operations center July 17. No update on the case has released since.

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