Subject: Dili sends back Thai accused of procuring

Bangkok Post..

Dili sends back Thai accused of procuring

July 27, 2004 10:14pm

East Timor has extradited to Bangkok a Singaporean man and a Thai woman charged with procuring Thai women for prostitution in that country.

Lim Shaun Lee, 44, and Yonchat Sinchoenthongchai, 47, were handed over to the Crime Suppression Division following their arrest on Wednesday in East Timor.

Thai women earlier sought help at the Thai embassy in East Timor, accusing the pair of having lured them into prostitution. Pol Maj-Gen Kosin Hinthao, the CSD commander, said the pair allegedly forced the women to work as prostitutes at Wisma Cendana hotel in Dili.

They had lured the women to East Timor with promises of highly paid jobs in restaurants and beauty salons.

They also offered to help pay the women's travel expenses of 48,000 baht each.

When the women arrived in East Timor, the pair seized their passports and forced them to sign loan contracts. The women were then forced to repay their debts by working as prostitutes.

Mrs Yonchat denied all charges, saying she and Mr Lee, her business partner, had only recruited women to work as masseuses and never forced anyone into prostitution.

She and Mr Lee had run a restaurant and a massage parlour in East Timor since 2002, she said.

She admitted they helped pay for each woman employee's trip to East Timor at 48,000 baht on condition that the employee must work for them for at least six months to repay that debt.

Mrs Yonchat also said the complaints made to the police were "false". They were made by some of her employees, including her younger sister, who wanted to quit after working for her for just over a month, she said.

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