Pattaya turns into nightmare for foreign tourists


If you are currently planning a trip to Thailand purely for recreation, you need to better think of any other destination, as Thailand in recent months, particularly Pattaya has become extremely hostile to tourists, where police is seen raiding bars and nightclubs and detaining foreigners on numerous excuses.

Recently, a British bar manager and a Thai woman were charged with human trafficking after Pattaya police swept notorious Soi 6 looking for underage and trafficked girls.

Briton William Reece and 31-year-old Jaranya Deeppair were taken into custody from the Flirt bar, which is owned by Nightwish Group, a company that operates 27 bars in Pattaya.

The arrest warrants had been issued on April 4, accusing Reece and Jaranya of trafficking women from Issan to Pattaya, where they were made to work in the Soi 6 bars for as little as 1,000 baht for sex in illegal upstairs rooms.

Following the arrests, bargirls employed at Flirt were also taken to Pattaya Police Station. This prompted an even larger sweep of Soi 6 the following night.

Pattaya Police chief Pol. Col. Thanapong Phothi stated that this week’s crackdown on Soi 6 was aimed at “building confidence in Pattaya’s image among tourists.” However, the arrests and subsequent police action had the opposite effect, as many people criticized the move as detrimental to tourists’ interests.

Days earlier, Pattaya had shut down bars on Walking Street and detained tourists, checking their passports and visas for overstayers. The move contrasted starkly with the coronavirus pandemic when authorities did everything, they could to make foreigners feel welcome.

In response to the charges, Nightwish released a statement defending its operation of its low-rent bars, pointing out that police found no evidence of underage girls or illegal activity at Flirt.

The statement also suggested that Reece and Jaranya were framed, stating:

“We believe that the raid took place following the inaccurate testimony of just one individual, who had been paid to make a false statement, and we do not expect anything to come of the charges. Nightwish takes our responsibilities seriously and cares deeply about the welfare of all our staff. We would never be involved in harmful practices”.

Beware of visiting Pattaya

Foreigner planning to visit Pattaya should be extremely careful, as in the recent days, members of the law enforcement agencies roam throughout bars and nightclubs looking for foreigners. Moreover, there are undercover agents pretending as escort girls or even sex workers, who would simply lure the tourist through honey trap and finally hand him over to the members of law enforcement agency. To get release from custody, it requires an amount between Thai Baht 5,000 to 15,000. Moreover, there are dozens of vloggers who are at random taking videos of various streets, bars and nightclubs in Pattaya and other tourist attraction cities in Thailand and later uploading those videos on YouTube and other social media platforms. Such practices are illegal in the United Arab Emirates and few other countries in the world. But vloggers are not facing any problem in continuing such free-styled filming of people, without their consent and later publish those on YouTube and social media platforms.

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