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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 situation.
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




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