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Monday, June 14, 2021

Bangkok chemsex party ends in steamy bust: meth and COVID-19 found.

Saunas, meth, and covid — oh my! 60 party-goers were arrested in the raid, most have pleaded guilty to a variety of crimes. But there’s more to the story, as always.

Reuters put out a prescient report on May 17th about a growing concern around chemsex parties as Thailand shut down bars nationwide in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The report revealed the problem with the strategy: chemsex parties, which gay men attend for sex and drugs including meth and ecstasy and GHB, moved from clubs to homes. The parties are organized on Twitter and gay dating apps like Grindr, according to the report.

A non-profit in Bangkok said that the number of people inquiring about the pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) anti-HIV drug at his organization had tripled since COVID-19 arrived. They said that the pills are taken before going to chemsex parties to protect from contracting the virus.

But there’s no such drug for COVID-19 — well, at least, not widely available in Thailand as the vaccine rollout has seen a slow start.

Chemsex parties seem extremely popular. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration said that up to 90% of gay and bisexual men who have used their healthcare services experimented with chemsex.

The parties have been associated with assaults and fatal overdoses in the past.

This all brings us to the news from May 23rd when news of a gay sauna in Bangkok hosted 60 men for a chemsex party.

Raids on the party at Faros Spa (link to their Facebook page) found meth and syringes. All 60 men in attendance were arrested, and most have pleaded guilty to charges of violating the Emergency Decree and Narcotics Acts.

They face one month in prison and 20,000 baht fines for the former charge, and six months in prison and 10,000 baht fines for the latter. But their sentences were reduced these penalties in half, a standard practice for pleading guilty in Thai courts. Seven of the defendants denied the charges.

The Faros Spa owner, Mr. Chinna Kitjinda, is charged for violation of the Emergency Decree and the Liquor Act, for serving during a restricted time.

The spa bills itself as the biggest gay sauna in Asia — a claim that I can’t confirm, but maybe one of our readers can.

Video at the club from February 2021 can be seen here.

The detained chemsex party goers have been given COVID tests, and two have come back positive.

One of the most interesting aspects of this case is that less than one week before the bust, the Thai Reuters correspondent had put out an article about the topic.

Either that’s a hell of a coincidence, or there was talk on the street in Bangkok of a new law enforcement focus on the chemsex community.

That could have taken the shape of officers keeping tabs on digital communication — on Twitter or dating apps — or tips they received from the public.

True Crime Thailand is keeping our own tabs on the chemsex story, but this is one party you won’t find us at.

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