Thai Police Revoke Visas of Men Facing Porn Charges

Rhett Pardon
BANGKOK – Police in Thailand have busted an alleged secret child-sex recruitment network that based their business over the Internet, introducing pedophiles to prepubescent boys.

The f2 News Service said that police arrested the owners of one of South-East Asia's biggest gay tourism agencies who were believed to have used their Bangkok travel agency as a front to introduce foreign pedophiles to Thai children.

“There is evidence that they were supplying boys to tourists coming to Thailand, and we are looking at further charges," Col. Pichit Itthipalacahai told f2 Network.

Thai police have accused former Australian diplomat Robert Scoble of running the network, as well as American business partner John Charles Goss. Officers found more than 100 albums containing sexually explicit photographs of boys -- some believed to be as young as 10 – in offices of the agency. Police also seized computer picture files of a man they believed to be Scoble engaged in sexual acts with several prepubescent boys. Calling them a danger to society, Thai authorities on Friday revoked their visas.

The travel agency, co-founded by Scoble in the mid-1990s, sells package tours throughout South-East Asia to gay travelers. An affiliated website says the company, Spice Trade Travel Ltd., "pioneered gay and lesbian travel in South-East Asia."

Both suspects were charged with distributing pornography and employing an unregistered foreign worker in their travel agency, which is in an office suite in the Tarntawan Place Hotel. A boutique hotel and popular with gay travelers, Tarntawan Place is next to Bangkok's infamous Patpong nightclub district.

The two men were released on bail and they were ordered not to leave Thailand.

During a raid on Scoble's apartment, police said they found a huge cache of pornographic material including magazines, personal photographs, videocassettes and computer disks.

Scoble, a former Australian diplomat who held posts in Thailand and Vietnam, resigned in 1985 after a scandal involving pictures of young boys sent through diplomatic mail.

A Thai national panel has recently urged the establishment of a national register of child sex offenders to combat pedophile activity on the Internet. The panel also proposed the introduction of a new law against the online "grooming" and luring of children.