Move against vice in Thailand

(First Edition)

Bangkok (Reuter) - The 'Mr Clean' of Thai politics has threatened to crack down on the country's notorious sex industry if his Palang Dharma (Moral Force) party wins elections next month.

'We have to prevent women from being lured into prostitution. All sex trade businesses have to be dealt with strictly,' Chamlong Srimuang told the Nation newspaper yesterday.

He is the only politician to make an issue of the sex trade, which employs hundreds of thousands of prostitutes, even though prostitution is illegal in Thailand. Many are forced into a business which employs an increasing number of children of both sexes.

Mr Chamlong, the popular former mayor of Bangkok, is known as an ascetic who leads a simple life, abstaining from sex with his wife. He was the main leader of protests in May which brought down the government of General Suchinda Kraprayoon.