Thai police to charge owners of Bangkok fitness club over lewd acts caught on video

BANGKOK (THE NATION/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Thai police are preparing to take legal action against the owners of a fitness club located in Bangkok's Wang Thonglang district for allegedly allowing several naked women to mingle with and tease men while they were working out.

This was reportedly seen in a video clip widely distributed online.

Royal Thai Police spokesman Prawut Thawornsiri said yesterday that Wang Thonglang police would summon the owners of Ebi Sauna and Fitness club for questioning and were preparing to file criminal charges against them for allegedly arranging for obscene acts for sexual pleasure. If found guilty, the owners face one to 10 years in prison and a fine of between 2,000 baht and 20,000 baht (S$81.40 and S$814).

The five or six men seen in the clip would also be summoned for questioning, he said.

The release of the clip followed a revelation by former Rak Thailand Party leader Chuwit Kamolvisit about such clubs opening at several locations in Bangkok and tourist destinations like Phuket and Pattaya.

Speaking in a television interview yesterday, Mr Chuwit said customers paid a 2,000 baht cover charge and another 5,000 baht to 10,000 baht if they wanted a special massage service on the floors above.

Speaking to reporters after meeting the police, club owner Suraphan Surawatthanaphong, 57, said the club shown in the clip was his and that the clip had been shot on Jan 5, when the club was rented out by a client. He said he was away at the time. It was the unnamed customer, not members of his staff, who had arranged for the naked women seen in the clip, he said.

After the clip went online on Sunday, Mr Suraphan said exercise equipment was removed from the fitness area so other customers would feel comfortable about returning to the club.

"If I was present and had learned of what went on at that session, I would not have allowed it," he said.