Chuwit Kamolvisit

From Academic Kids

Chuwit Kamolvisit aka Davis Kamol (born August 29, 1961) was Thailand's biggest massage parlor owner. After having been arrested in 2003, he went public about his repeated bribe payments to hundreds of police officers. He then sold some of his parlors, formed his own political party and ran for Bangkok governor in August 2004, coming in third. In 2005 he was elected for a four-year term to the Thai House of Representatives (Sapha Phuthaen Ratsadon).

Chuwit controls the Davis Group which owns six luxurious massage parlors near Ratchadaphisek Road in Bangkok (Copacabana, Victoria's Secret, Honolulu, Hi Class, Emmanuelle and Julianna), employing some 600 women. The Davis Group's holdings also include the Davis Hotel and shopping mall on Sukhumvit soi 23. Yearly revenues have been estimated to be about 1 thousand million Baht per year. The parlors operate in a grey area of the law. Some women wait behind a glass window, others wait in a lounge area or can be viewed via closed-circuit TV. Once the (typically male) customer has chosen a woman, they retreat to a room where the customer is washed and bathed and the masseuse performs a foam massage with her nude body, normally followed by sex. Prices range from 2000 to 5000 Baht for a two hour session. In one interview, Chuwit claimed to be ignorant about the going-ons in the rooms; in another he admitted that prostitution takes place.

In January 2003, Chuwit was accused of having hired some 600 men to raze and bulldoze several bars and shops on one of his plots of land at Sukhumvit road Soi 10 in Bangkok, in an apparent attempt to clear the land of low rent tenants so that it could be developed. The tenants believed to have valid leases from another company and were not informed of the raid that took place early on a Sunday morning. Chuwit was arrested and spent a month in jail. He denied the charges and was released on bail. Afterwards, angry that police would dare to touch him, he publicly released the amounts of bribes he had regularly paid in the past, along with names of some of the receiving police officers. At one point he put the total amount of bribes at 200 million Baht over 10 years, at another he mentioned payments of 12 million Baht per month. An investigation ensued, and eventually several officers were suspended or demoted. Chuwit also accused his prison wardens of having accepted bribes from him.

Shortly after these revelations, Chuwit disappeared for two days. Afterwards he claimed to have been abducted and abused by police; others alleged that he had staged his own abduction.

Chuwit was charged with procuring minors for prostitution, when three girls aged under 18 but over 15 were found in one of his parlors. He was acquitted of the charge in June 2004; the court found that the girls had presented fake IDs and Chuwit could not have been expected to detect the fraud. Also in June, Chuwit sold three of his parlors, saying that police harassment had made operation of the parlors very difficult for him.

The Thai newspaper The Nation chose Chuwit, along with Pornthip Rojanasunand and Chote Wattanachet, as persons of the year for 2003.

Political career

Chuwit, who holds an MBA from a San Diego university, went on to form his own political party, First Thai Nation, in September 2003. In April 2004 he announced that he would run for governor of Bangkok. He intended to spend about 20 million Baht on the campaign, with corruption in police and government being his main campaign topic. The Bangkok governor elections took place on August 29, 2004; Chuwit came in third, with roughly 300,000 votes, or about 16% of the vote.

For the 2005 legislative elections, Chuwit merged his party into the conservative Chart Thai Party and successfully ran as a party list candidate, becoming a member of parliament.

In May 2005 he started a weekly call-in radio show during which he listens to complaints from the general public.

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