Thai Sex Industry King Arrested
THAILAND'S so-called "King of commercial sex" - a man of interest to Australian police
over the trafficking of women for prostitution - has been arrested in Bangkok.
Chuwit Kamolvisit, 42, widely known as a boss of the Thai sex industry, was arrested late
last week after 10 weeks on the run.
Chuwit, who runs nine large massage parlours in Bangkok, has a personal fortune
estimated-at more than $250million. He was arrested in connection with the demolition of
a whole Bangkok city block of "beer bars" to make way for a new brothel.
Australian Federal Police officers in Bangkok are investigating the extent of Chuwit's
involvement in the sex industry in Australia and his property interests in this country.
The AFP is aware of the arrest. A spokeswoman said officers were monitoring the
An investigation by The Australian has revealed the widespread trafficking of Thai women
to Australia to work as sex slaves.
Bought by brothel owners, the women are forced to have sex with hundreds of men to pay
their so-called "debts" - often as much as $50,000.
The federal Government has rejected calls for an independent judicial inquiry into the
trafficking of women in the sex industry.
Although federal laws were introduced in 1999 to combat sexual servitude, authorities
have yet to mount a single prosecution, despite being given detailed information
on the trafficking trade by numerous women who have escaped their captors.
The Government has been criticised for deporting the women - and with them the
evidence - instead of properly investigating their claims.
Chumit fled to Australia in mid-February, a day before Thai police issued a warrant for his
arrest for the dramatic demolition of the Sukhumvit Square bars and shops.
Police alledge Chuwit planned another 48-storey brothel on the site in downtown Bangkok,
but had difficulty closing down the bars because of lease disputes.
The Nation newspaper reported that news of Chuwit's arrest would "excite Australian
police who have been investigating the smuggling of Thai women into the red light industry
in their country".
Herald and Weekly Times (3-5-2003)
Jim Pollard/ Natalie O'Brien/ Elisabeth Wynhausen