Soi 6 police raids disrupt business for only short time

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Workers from Soho Bar on Soi 6 are brought to the police station for questioning.

Regional and national police this month staged two of their periodic raids of Soi 6 bars, shaking up “business as usual” – if only for the night – on a soi where Pattaya authorities long have tolerated the offenses charged by national police.

Region 2 crime suppression investigators on Oct. 7 raided the Mandarin Club and national anti-human trafficking officers did the same at the Soho Bar three nights later. In both cases, the brothels were open again for business the next day.

About 10 Chonburi-based police rang up Mandarin, which fancies itself a Walking Street-style go-go bar, for nude shows and offering plushy rooms upstairs for extracurricular activities. Owner Uthaiwan Kliguart, 31, and 16 employees between the ages of 20 and 37 were detained and incriminating condoms and lubricating gel were seized.

Human trafficking officers likewise charged Soho Bar owner Pornsawan Iammala, 33, with operating illegal rooms upstairs. She and seven employees ages 18-32 were arrested and charged with prostitution-related offenses.

In both cases, the busts were made possible by the use of foreign informants who entered the bar to procure the upstairs services of a staff member, then telephoned police once the marked bills were exchanged.

Bangkok police raids are nothing new to Soi 6 bar owners, who experience the “crackdowns” about twice a year. It disrupts the usual flow of business, but, as the quick reopening of both bars shows, not for long.