September 01, 2000 12:55am
Thai Cops Raid Gay Sauna
Source: Planet Out
Thailand's concerns about child prostitution and sex tourism led to a raid by police -- and TV camera crews -- on a gay birthday party at a men's sauna in Bangkok on the evening of August 28. Police found nothing illegal going on, however, and the British national whose birthday it was insists there was no one present under age 18.
The raid followed a tip from children's rights activist Paveena Hongsakul, a Chart Pattana party Member of Parliament, who also alerted the media. She may have been informed by a local gay man miffed at not being invited to the lavish affair. An unnamed party guest told The Scotsman that, "We believe the false allegation that underaged boys were to be found on the premises was made by a man who did not receive an invitation and had a gay tantrum."
The gathering at the Colony Sauna was to celebrate the birthday of John Richard Duffy, 54, a British national working as an economic advisor in Laos who was vacationing in Thailand. Police, who arrived with Immigration Bureau and Children's Welfare Protection Division officials, said they found about 100 foreigners partying with 27 Thais ages 10 to 16 years, most naked and some engaged in "necking." Police took some of the foreigners and all of the Thais to the Thong Lor police station for questioning and then released everyone except the Colony's manager Nikorn Nianthong and Duffy. They were both arrested and later released on bail. Duffy's bail was set 10,000 pounds for a charge of organizing an "immoral sex party," although he later told reporters that others had organized the party as a surprise for him.
Duffy told The Scotsman that, "There were no boys there. All the Thai 'boy' guests were over 18. It was a private party between consenting adults."
Police Major Theeravut Pimpisai solemnly told the Bangkok Post that, "If police had gone in later than they did, many more would have been arrested for prostitution," but that as it was no one else had done anything illegal. Although prostitution and procurement are crimes in Thailand, consensual homosexual acts are not, and homosexual acts with minors are charged as molestation and physical assault.
The Bangkok Post noted that police had raided a gay party at a bar in Silom on August 18, arresting a French national and more than twenty young Thais. The Thai Rath newspaper's sensationalized coverage of the Colony raid headlined "Twisted English gentlemen set up party and gang-raped children in high society district," said that guests had been "flown in from England for a perverted feast on Thai boys" aged 10 to 18 years.