Police arrest 62 men at gay chemsex party in Bangkok sauna
Thai police arrested 62 men at a chemsex party in Bangkok, Thailand for breaching the country’s strict COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.
The men were arrested by police on Saturday (22 May) night at Faros Sauna 2 in Bangkok Thailand, according to the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Police colonel Ekapop Tanprayoon, superintendent of Bangkok’s Wang Thong Lang District police station, told Reuters that authorities found drugs, needles and used condoms at the establishment during the raid.
Ekapop said police have “reprimanded people for gathering to drink at home” in the past. He explained that there “shouldn’t be so many people in such a crowded area” under the “current circumstances”. Ekapop added Faros Sauna 2 consists of two buildings – with one building hosting 50 bedrooms – a swimming pool and a karaoke hall.
The men and organisers of the party face charges of violating Thailand’s COVID-19 restrictions, which were put in place last March. According to Ekapop, this means they could face up to two years in prison and a fine of up to 40,000 baht (£902/$1,276).
Ekapop said at least 30 people also tested positive for drugs and will be charged with drug-related crimes.
Reuters reported the raid and subsequent arrests is Thailand’s largest crackdown on a chemsex party during the ongoing pandemic.
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Chemsex is the term used to describe the practice of having consensual sex while under the use of certain drugs, such as GHB and meth.
Nikorn Chimkong, president of LGBT+ rights group the Bangkok Rainbow Organization, told Reuters that these parties are a “new normal” amid the pandemic, adding those who attend chemsex parties risk “contracting COVID-19”.
He told Reuters about 30 or 40 people per month contacted the group to ask about pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), an HIV-preventable pill. Before COVID-19, the group received less than 10 inquiries for the anti-HIV drug.
Campaigners have warned that chemsex users are also at risk of drug addiction, overdoses, mental health problems and other health risks.