Pattaya has been dubbed one of the largest sex tourism destinations in the world, and for good reason.
Thousands of prostitutes ply their trade on the coastal town, and the 24/7 hedonistic lifestyle attracts men from all over the world.
But Pattaya has a darker side, and authorities all over the world are becoming increasingly concerned with the volume of sex offenders living and operating in Pattaya.
Right now, Pattaya has one of the largest number of pedophiles anywhere in the world living outside their home countries. And they are not only having sex with children, they are producing child pornography and posting it on the Internet (FBI.org).
This is not a new problem, either. Cases can be found online going back to the 90s, including that of Australian national Joseph Kosky, arrested in 1997 with a 9-year-old boy in his room (source).
A report by the Human Help Network Foundation Thailand (HHN) has reiterated the cause for concern by highlighting the vulnerability of street children:
Child prostitution in Pattaya will flourish as long as the number of homeless children – both Thai and foreign – remains high and they continue to be exploited by sex tourists and parents who sell their children into the trade.
Rather than working via go-go bars as previously, children coaxed into the sex trade now roam the streets at night or shopping malls in the day and approach prospective clients themselves, Kanjanas said. In some cases poor parents introduce their children to clients.
There are around 25,000 street children, both Thai and migrant, known to the HHN in Thailand, with up to 2,000 of them based in Pattaya. There is also a large but unspecified number of children under parental care but suffering poverty, and thus at risk of being lured into child prostitution.
Why do Sex Offenders Choose Pattaya?
To someone living outside of Pattaya, this might appear to suggest that child sex is being sold openly on the streets, which is certainly not the case.
However, the number of homeless children is on the rise, as is the number of sexual offences against children by foreign nationals.
There are over 400 children residing at the Pattaya orphanage, many of whom have been victims of child abuse while living on the streets of Pattaya.
Many Pattaya expats argue that the statistics are exaggerated, and that this is a typical western media exaggeration, aimed at further tainting the reputation of Thailand's sin city.
But the statistics don't lie. There is a disproportionate number of peodophile cases – committed by foreign nationals – in Pattaya when compared with other areas of Thailand.
This is not because Pattaya is inherently evil, but most likely because a city known for the sex industry makes for an easier place to blend in and hide one's crimes.
Below is some research I conducted into western men arrested on child sex charges in Pattaya. The number of cases is staggering and the list below is by no means exhaustive.
Pattaya Pedophile Cases:
Bear in mind that these are well-documented cases where evidence to prosecute was immediately available, or because a case had been built using surveillance. This list doesn't represent day to day complaints or reports, or arrests based purely on suspicion.
One would think a high profile sex tourist destination like Pattaya would be a difficult place for a pedophile to operate: police everywhere, authorities on the look out for wanted offenders. But in reality, amidst the protection of pimps and corrupt officials, who can be bought off with bribes, there's no shortage or middle men willing to make a buck on the transaction of a child.
1. August 2019:
Thai police arrest 80-year-old Norman Lunt, from Rotherham in Yorkshire, in Bang Lamang, Pattaya. Lunt was arrested at the request of the UK National Crime Agency after officers in the United Kingdom discovered he had relocated to Thailand.
He admitted to Thai police that his computer contained child pornography. He was extradited facing 16 different charges in the UK, including 5 of rape against two underage UK girls over a 5 year period. The other charges include molestation and sexual assault. (Full story here).
2. July 2018:
The police raided a property in the Pratumnak Hill area of Pattaya and arrested National Alexey Fadeev, 39.
The police confiscated a notebook found to contain a large amount of child pornography. (Full story here)
3. March 2018:
A convicted Dutch pedophile, Joseph Maria Rennards, 69, was arrested for abusing Thai boys in Pattaya’s Jomtien area.
Rennards was previously blacklisted from Thailand on unrelated offences. However, he told police that he bribed a border policeman to gain access to the country.
Police believe the is part of an international child sex ring.
Rennards was arrested in a trap set by Thai police, who sent two foreign agents to contact the Dutchman and ask him to arrange four teen boys to provide sexual services for 7,000 THB at their rented room at Jomtien Longstay Hotel. (Full story here).
4. Dec 2017:
Thai Police arrest Canadian pensioner Eddy Walsh, 71, for molesting a 13 year old boy in South Pattaya. Walsh denies the charge.
Mr Walsh was arrested at the Yen Sabai Mansion in Pattaya Soi 17 off Sai 2. A warrant for his arrest was issued by the Pattaya court on Tuesday following a complaint made to Pattaya police by the mother of a 13 year old boy.
She said that her son had been taken to a room in Yen Sabai and was molested with a video being recorded.
Kritsanat Thanasuphanat leading the Region 2 team in the arrest said they found many obscene VCDs. These were taken into evidence along with a phone, tablet, computer notebook and a selection of clothes.
It is asserted that Walsh is part of a secret cabal of foreign pedophiles who prey on young teenage boys in the resort city of Pattaya. (Full story here).
5. May 2016:
DSI officers and local police arrest Mr George Tower in a house in the Fa Mai Pratu Kom community in the Suriyawong Road area of Hai Ya sub district, Chiang Mai.
The 73-year-old man from the UK was charged with having sex with a person under 13 and molestation of a child under 15. The charges were denied and he was detained.
Police found a computer in the house with an obscene video clip of a male child, and a an obscene CD. These were taken into evidence and forensics scoured the man's bedroom for traces of sperm and other evidence.
6. August 31, 2015:
64-year-old British national Simon Jeremy Merington Briscore was arrested at his house in Chiang Mai's Mueang district, after two 16-year-old boys filed complaints with police that the Briton failed to honour his promise to pay them Bt500 each for sex.
Police also found a substantial amount of pornography of underage boys on his computer.
7. Feb 2015:
70-year-old Norwegian, Svein Eirik Michelsen, on the run from pedophilia charges, was captured in Pattaya after being spotted on Walking Street.
He was wanted for molesting underage girls and possession of child pornography.
Immigration police said Michelsen was a frequent visitor to Thailand before immigration officers found out he was on an international alert list. (Full story here).
8. October 10, 2014:
Mr.Mariolle Arnaud Jean Nicoias, aged 46, from France, is arrested having sex with a 14 year-old girl in the Live In Mansion.
He said he had paid 700 Baht for the girl to a woman in front of Mike Shopping Mall. At the scene the officials found the supplier, Mrs.Prapaporn Sawangram, aged 37, who was arrested by officials before raiding the room which contained Mr.Mariolle Arnaud Jean Nicoias.
While at the residence, officials went to inspect another room and found drug addicts Mr.Samreng Ayamueng, aged 38, and Ms.Atchara Wichaiwong, 23, who were also having sex.
Mrs.Prapaporn confessed that Mr.Mariolle asked her to procure the girl, whom she had recently met, in exchange for the money and a place for her friends to have sex.
9. November 2013 (Conviction update):
US expat Gregory Miller, from Madison, Wisconsin, sentenced to 38 years imprisonment for sexually assaulting a nine year old boy on ten occasions between January and June 2012.
In passing sentence the presiding Judge said that Miller's repeatedly sexually assaulting such a young child justified an extremely harsh sentence. The sentence is one of the highest ever imposed in Thailand for this type of offence – the maximum penalty for the offence is life imprisonment.
Miller is suspected of sexually assaulting at least five other boys, all under the age of 12. Following his arrest evidence came to light that Miller was stalking young boys and video taping them at school functions. Full story here.
10. November 2013:
Officers arrest 50 year old Australian Mr. Ben Agame Ofar, accused of 4 counts of sexual assaulting a minor aged 11 years old.
The warrant stated that the suspect is accused of sexually assaulting his girlfriend’s daughter who is aged 11 years, 4 times over the period of his 6 month-relationship with the victim’s Mother.
The girl allegedly told her neighbours that she had been repeatedly raped by her Australian stepfather, Mr. Ben, on at least four occasions.
Mr. Ben then threatened her not to tell anyone, including her mother, about the assault. The investigation also revealed that Mr. Ben had previously been accused of raping girls aged under 15 on other occasions.
11. October 2013:
British born Ray Teret, ex-chauffeur for disgraced sex offender Jimmy Savile (British celebrity, now deceased), arrested in Pattaya for historic sexual offences against children Full story here.
12. June 2013:
Police arrest Mr. Gaston Roger Maurer from Switzerland. The 62 year old was charged with serious sexual offences to a number of underage boys. He had been under investigation after receiving reports from victims’ families who learned that a ladyboy had lured them into providing sex with the man. The boys were paid 250 baht each and the ladyboy got the rest of the money. Full story here.
13. Feb 2013 (2 arrested):
Pattaya police arrest German Karl Josef Ruppel, 69, and Briton Andrew John Tracey, 60. Ruppel was taken into custody at the Rina Lodge, where he allegedly paid a 14-year-old boy 200 baht for oral sex.
Investigators alleged the German had found the boy at Chaimongkol Temple. Tracey was arrested at his house in Bang Sarary where he’d allegedly been taking underage boys he picked up in Pattaya shopping malls, paying them 300-500 baht for sexual services.
14. October 2012:
Infamous Pattaya resident and British pedophile William Goad, 68, accredited with some 3,500 cases of child sexual abuse dies in Albany Prison on the Isle of Wight in the U.K.
Goad was arrested in Britain in 2004 after returning from Pattaya, Thailand, where he had been living comfortably in exile under a false passport .In Pattaya he lived with two Irish travellers, aged 15 and 16, whom he had known for several years, and he paraded them around gay haunts in Boyz Town and Sunee Plaza. Full story here.
15. June 2012:
Mr. Gregory Miller, aged 48, an American citizen working as a language teacher at an international school in Rayong. Mr. Gregory was accused of sexually assaulting boys aged 10-15 years at his house on several occasions.
The boys were paid 200-500 Baht each time. The police followed-up the case and arrested Mr. Gregory Mill at his house where they found tissue paper with semen stains and obscene pictures of the teacher and the boys.
16. Feb 28 2012:
Police received a call in the early hours of Sunday morning that a foreign man was molesting a young boy in a car parked on Soi 4 off Pratamnak Hill. Officers were sent to investigate and found the Toyota Vios parked in a dark area of the street.
Inside, on the back seat was Mr. Norman Wallis in the act of seducing a young 13 year old boy. Police confronted Wallis aged 79 from England and arrested him.
According to Wallis, he paid 700 baht to the boy as requested when they met at a local shopping mall. He further stated that he was not aware that having sex with an underage person was illegal in Thailand. Full story here.
17. Jan 2011:
Police arrest David Charles Taylor, a 66 year old British man wanted for abusing kids, some just infants, and selling pornography on line internationally.
He led the Thai police to his apartment where there was a stack of porn and indecent images of young children on his computer.
They included Thai boys under thirteen and several other nationalities. Police say some of his customers were European residents of the resort city. Full story here.
18. Feb 2011:
Pattaya, officers organised the apprehension of foreign child abuse offender, Mr. Roderick William Robinson, 73, of British nationality. Pol. Col. Shusak Phanatamphorn remarked that Mr. Robinson committed numerous sexual abuse offences on a girl on 14th February 1988 in England then escaped to stay in Australia.
Later, on 16th January 1989, he again sexually abused a child and was arrested by Australian police. After obtaining bail, Mr. Robinson absconded to hide in New Zealand where he continued to offend repeatedly before escaping to hide in Portugal in 2010.
19. Feb 2011:
Police arrest a Norwegian pedophile at his own business residence after receiving a report from local residents to investigate his acts in having sex with the underage girls. Mr. Karstein Abrahamsen, 66, Norwegian national opened the door and police found a girl, Miss Duen (alias), 17, in the room. Both were naked. The police also found condoms (used and unused) which they kept as evidence.
20. March 2011:
Karl Erik Berglund, 60, a Swedish national is charged on multiple counts of sexual abuse after having had sexual relations with underage boys in Pattaya, Thailand.
21. October 2010:
Police arrest Mr. Hugo Stephen Leuthold, age 80 years from Switzerland in an apartment in Soi Honey Inn, off Soi Buakao with a 12 year old boy in his room.
The police had been following Mr. Leuthold for a while as he was suspected of being a pedophile and had been seen in the company of little boys and disappeared with them before. This time, he convinced the 12 year old boy do sexual favours for him and he agreed to pay the boy 500 Baht. Full story here.
22. August 2010:
Police arrest Mr. Oystein Larsen 60 from Norway and a Thai girl, Miss Fa (16) in a compromising position.Investigations found that Mr.
Larsen had taken Miss Fa back to his hotel having agreed to pay her for sexual services in South Pattaya. Miss Fa subsequently acknowledged that Mr. Larsen had propositioned her to have sex with him before taking her back to his hotel room.
23. July 2010:
Mr. Mikhail Pletnev, 53, a Russian national and renowned musician is arrested facing charges of committing indecent sexual acts with a minor under the age of 15. Officers found several hundred files, photos and videos on his home computer of child pornography and images of indecent acts with underage children.
24. January 2010:
Police arrest French national Jean Eric Lopez, 47, after the DSI’s Bureau of Foreign Affairs and Transnational Crime was informed by representatives of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in Thailand and French national police based at the French Embassy in Thailand that Mr Lopez ran entertainment venues offering underage male sex for hire and that he abused children.
25. July 2009 (2 arrested):
In their efforts to crack down on sexual perverts and pedophiles that prey on young children in Pattaya, police arrested German pedophile Gerhard Heiner Gatsche and British born Robert Horsman, aged 46, from Saxmundham who also lived in the same Rungrueang Village on Soi Khaotalo. Horsman has been arrested twice before for sexual acts with young boys and denied the charges, getting off with a couple of fines. Full story here.
26. March 2009, (3 arrested):
Thai authorities announce the arrest of Australian national, Richard Jeremy Morrush (68), Italian national David Costa Ruggero (60) and one other man, charged with child sex offences following an international investigation involving law enforcement agencies from three countries.
27. July 2008:
Pattaya police arrested an aging American man accused of having sexually abused his adopted 5-year-old daughter for two months, after the mother and relatives had reported the matter to the police.
On the afternoon of July 17, mother, Miss Orn-anong Prom-toe, managed to see her daughter at Mr. Vinum's house and was told by daughter Ploy that, during the night, Mr. Vinum usually rubs his sexual organ on hers and had forced her to perform oral sex. Discovering the truth, Miss Orn-anong demanded her daughter back, but Mr. Vinum refused, so she then reported the matter to the police. Full story here.
28. June 2008:
Police arrest 68-year-old British Citizen Malcolm Edward Falkus for an indecent act on a 12-year-old boy. Falkus, a former historian and lecturer at the London School of Economics, had spent a large part of his career in Australia, before moving to Thailand (Pattaya) in 2004.
The victim was taken to police by officers from the Child Protection and Development Center after the boy reported that he was taken to a beer bar restroom for immoral conduct in Soi Sunee.
It was alleged that Falkus had been procuring other boys under the age of consent, paying them 500 Baht for sex each time. Indeed, the victim knew the man's name to be ‘Malcolm'.
Falkus was bailed on a surety of 200,000 Baht, though he evaded prosecution and fled to Cambodia. Falkus committed suicide in the UK in 2017 (More on this story here and here).
29. May 2008:
At around 4:30 on Friday morning police brought a 46-year-old British national, Mr Andrew John Gallacher, back to the Soi 9 station after finding him engaged in illegal sexual activities at his home with a 16-year-old Thai male.
Police claim Mr Gallacher had picked up the boy in the Soi Sunee Plaza area of South Pattaya and brought him back for the purposes of sex and a promise of 500 baht. At the station police asked Mr Gallacher to open his computer, which had been brought back when he was arrested.
On the computer were a large number of photos of young Thai males in various stages of undress, leading police to the conclusion that this was not the first time Mr Gallacher had engaged in sexual activities with local boys.
30. March 2008 (3 arrested):
Thai police arrest Finnish citizen Ilkka Ylikojola, British national Stephen James Ellison and American Glenn Richard Allen. Child pornography and video equipment for making more porn were reportedly found in the three men's separate apartments. Full story here.
31. March 2008:
The Daily Mail covers the story of Maurice Praill, 77, from Harold Hill, Essex, UK. The step-father of former Ireland international footballer Jon Goodman was arrested after police investigators saw the boy being delivered to his rented home on a motorcycle side-car.
Thai police were called in after a member of Child Protection Centre passed on complaints from the parents of the eight-year-old boy. Mr Praill has a long history of child sex abuse in Pattaya. Full story here.
32. December 2008 (4 arrested – 20 more under surveillance):
Under Operation Naga, a joint investigation between the UK's Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) and the Royal Thai Police. Police arrest Malcolm Payne, 59, and Robert Horsman, 45, both from Britain, as well as 62-year-old American Robert Lond and 66-year-old German Fritz Blattner. The operation implicates 20 foreign pedophiles under Thai Police surveillance. Full story here.
33. May 2007:
Police arrest German citizen Mr. Emil Bernnuer, 68. He was charged with pedophilia in Germany in 2005, but before his sentencing escaped to live in Pattaya, Thailand. He was sentenced to ten months in prison with sexual offender counselling. Full story here.
Two other notable high profile cases I came across pre 2007:
34. October 2005:
Bernard Scullion, 53, thought he had escaped the full weight of the law by fleeing Britain while on licence. But the father of his 13-year-old victim, a Wirral businessman, would not let the matter rest.
Mr X, whose name was withheld to protect his daughter, used a network of contacts to seek leads on Scullion's whereabouts, and having traced him to Thailand hired a German investigator to provide an exact location.
“My investigator found him getting drunk in the bars of Pattaya every night,” said the victim's father. “He had been beaten up in one of them after they'd found out he'd taken a 13-year-old girl home with him.” Full story here.
35. Feb 2003:
Finally, after a long history of sexual predatory, Thomas Frank White, the San Francisco multimillionaire is held in Bangkok Remand Prison.
Two months after his FBI warrant was issued, Thai law enforcement authorities say White took up residence in the resort area of Jomtien Beach in Pattaya, Thailand, about 68 miles south of Bangkok.
A videotape obtained by The Chronicle at the time showed him frolicking with boys at the beach and touring a school and shelter he apparently funded. Full story here.
The Disturbing Views of Some Expats
The list goes on and on.
And just as disturbing as this list are some of the comments I came across on forums while conducting my research, particularly those supporting sex with girls of 14, 15 and 16 years of age.
I am a little cautious about posting such comments on my blog, but here's just a couple to give you an idea. I quote:
Big fan of teens myself. Why not go for a girl in her prime? In-fact I can't remember the last time I barfined a girl over the age of 18. These days one has to look a little harder to find the ‘little deadly demon'. 20 years ago, certainly, 15 was common in Soi Cowboy. Happy days! – Littleron
Less than a decade ago nearly all the girls in BKK go-go bars were 18 and UNDER. Many as young as 14 and 15. I'm sure Pattaya was no different. It was perfectly acceptable then. – FedUpFarang
In addition to such comments, a recent topic trending on ThaiVisa.com reveals a worrying blockade of denial from Pattaya expats, with the majority denying that pedophilia exists any more than it does anywhere else in the world.
Many posters outrightly accuse the HNN report as complete lies, and a fabrication of the truth to create jobs for NGO workers.
A Final Word
Since writing this article way back in 2013, I've received hate mail and many negative comments arguing that some of these men are innocent and framed, and that I'm picking on an already media-bullied Pattaya.
So let me just briefly address this. All of the cases listed here are reported as they were in the news. All of the cases involve one of three strong lines of evidence:
- Cross-country surveillance between the perpetrator's home country and the Thai police, based on existing evidence of abuse from the perpetrator's home country.
- Surveillance by the Thai police and child protection agencies.
- A raid where the perpetrator is caught in the act of sexual assault, or found in possession of images/other compelling evidence.
Yes, the sexual abuse of children happens in every country.
Yes, there are cases of child sexual abuse in other areas of Thailand.
Yes, there are Thai nationals involved in the procurement of children for foreign nationals.
And yes, Thailand has a significant problem with the sexual assault of minors by Thai nationals.
I'm not denying any of this.
But no one can deny that Pattaya has a problem here. And one that is still ongoing in 2021. If you are denyingthis, then you've got your head in the sand.
Got a case you want to add to the list? Email me.