Chonburi police raided several Walking Street go-go bars, arresting at least one of the owners on human-trafficking charges after finding underage and Laotian girls dancing on stage.
Regional 2 Superintendent Lt. Gen. Punya Maamen led the Jan. 28 operation against the Silver Star A-Go-Go, taking a group of undercover police and Children’s Welfare and Protection Center officers into the Thai-owned club after being tipped off to the underage and foreign dancers.
Regional 2 Superintendent Lt. Gen. Punya Maamen (front, left), along with regional police and Children’s Welfare and Protection Center officers inside the Silver Star A-Go-Go.
After getting an eyeful, police shut down the music, turned up the lights and detained about 40 workers. Nine were found to be not only from Laos, but under age 18. Nine other under-18 Thai girls were also discovered.
The Laotian teens were arrested for illegally working in Thailand. The underage Thais were sent off to shelters to determine if they were victims of human trafficking and the remaining employees of legal age were fined for congregating in a place of prostitution.
Punya personally interrogated owners Boonlert Wilairat, 58, and Usa Sanprasert, 47. Both were charged with human trafficking of minors and foreigners.
The raid, which also saw police enter several other go-gos on Walking Street’s Soi 15, kicked off a general crackdown on Walking Street bars. Police were out in force each night afterward, shutting down all businesses at 3 a.m. sharp, including places such as the Insomnia disco which historically has flouted legal closing times and remaining open until well after sunrise.