Thailand’s top child modelling agent arrested after police discover half a million images of sex abuse

According to reports, the victims are all male minors aged between six and 15

Rituparna Chatterjee
Wednesday 17 February 2021 12:00
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<p>Thailand’s department of special investigation team behind the probe</p>

Thailand’s department of special investigation team behind the probe

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Police in Thailand have arrested a top child modelling agent after a raid at his office allegedly uncovered more than half a million images related to child sexual abuse, involving at least 40 minors from the country and thousands of children from around the world.

Danudet Sangkaew, 23, goes by the nickname “Nene” and ran one of Thailand’s top modelling agencies.

According to a Channel News Asia (CNA) report, the victims are all male minors aged between six and 15.

Thailand’s department of special investigations (DSI) said an 11 February raid at the Nene Modelling Agency in Pathum Thani province, following a tip-off from Australian police, recovered pictures on a computer hard drive of child sexual assault and abuse.

Operation Underground Railroad, a non-profit group, as well as police and federal investigators from New Zealand were also involved in the investigation.

“This is a child-porn industry and we’re proud to have cracked it,” CNA quoted Khemachart Prakyhongmanee, deputy director of the foreign affairs and transnational crime bureau at DSI, as saying.

“It’s like shopping for children for him,” Mr Khemachart said, explaining the suspect’s alleged modus operandi.

“The agent usually approached them through schools by pretending to search for young models. Such access allowed him to target children, forge ties with their parents and eventually abuse them at his office outside Bangkok. When the child told his parents, they’d think ‘Oh! This came through the teachers. This is already screened,’ and trust him.”

DSI’s director-general, Korrawat Panprapakorn, was quoted by the Bangkok Post as saying that “the amount of evidence convinced investigators the agency must have been behind the abuse of thousands of children.” 

According to the newspaper, Mr Sangkaew has been charged with “importing pornographic images into a computer system and sexually abusing minors.”

The modelling agency has reportedly worked with more than 8,400 child models and actors since 2013, the police said.

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