Top Thai cop, General Surachate Hakparn, reveals wanted German national Jens Kirch could face possible charges in Germany for underage sex with a minor in Pattaya. Kirch is collaborating with German prosecutors. ‘Big Joke’ meanwhile probes possible police corruption claims in Pattaya while pursuing justice and keeping the Kingdom’s fight against human trafficking on track.

It has emerged that the 55-year-old German national Jens Kirch, wanted in Thailand for underage sex with a minor, may face charges in Germany for the same criminal acts committed in Pattaya in September 2022. Additionally, it is understood that Mr Kirch is working with German prosecutors and may assist in the investigation being carried out by Deputy National Police Chief General Surachate Hakparn who is travelling to Germany in January 2024.

Deputy National Police Chief General Surachate Hakparn or Big Joke at a press conference on December 8th when he updated reporters on the case. The senior police officer plans to travel to Germany in January 2024 as German suspect 55-year-old Jens Kirch is cooperating with German prosecutors who may charge him with offences relating to his activities in Pattaya in September last year.

In the case assigned to him by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin of crime, escape, and pursuit, of underage sex suspects, General Surachate Hakparn, commonly known as ‘Big Joke,’ sheds light on the legal ins and outs surrounding the case of Jens Kirch, a 55-year-old German fugitive charged with the sexual assault of a minor in Thailand. 

Already the unfolding saga has seen disciplinary action against two Thai police officers in Pattaya linked with the case in late 2022 before the Provincial Court, diplomatic efforts seeking the man’s extradition and international cooperation now being pursued by ‘Big Joke’ to ultimately bring him to justice.

German national Jens Kirch is a key figure in the spotlight at the centre of the German TV exposé and efforts by Thai authorities to get to the truth

At his press conference and update for reporters, General Surachate confirmed disciplinary action and a possible criminal investigation against two senior police officers in Pattaya.

The catalyst for these measures was the shocking Deutsche Welle TV documentary exposing Pattaya’s sex industry. 

At the heart of the controversy is Mr Jens Kirch, who managed to escape after his arrest in September 2022 by being granted bail to travel on business by the Pattaya Provincial Court when police handling the case failed to object.

Kirch had business and personal interests in Pattaya

Kirch reportedly has business interests in Thailand, a property and was married to a Thai woman. These were factors presented to the court which set bail at ฿500,000 in the case and allowed him to leave Thailand for a short business trip.

Fury as police track American and German who bought their way out of child sex abuse in Pattaya
Big Joke probes Pattaya sex scandal with high stakes not only for ‘Sin City’ but Thailand itself 

Not only did the German fail to return for a hearing of the case in November 2022 but he also appeared on the German TV documentary this month boasting about how he bought off the Royal Thai Police for ฿1 million, a claim now central to General Surachate’s investigation into police officers in Pattaya who are already facing disciplinary action.  

German national accused will not be extradited back to Thailand but may face criminal charges in Germany for the offence committed in Pattaya in 2022

General Surachate, in recent days, in an update to reporters, emphasised the lack of an extradition treaty between Thailand and Germany, as posing an insurmountable obstacle to Kirch’s return to face justice in Thailand. 

This will certainly not happen, conceded the top cop.

Undeterred, the Deputy National Police Chief, appointed by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin to unravel the affair, has already had discussions with the German ambassador but has insisted he plans to explore all potential avenues for cooperation.

German fugitive from Thai justice faces prosecution for the same offence in Germany says Deputy National Police Chief General Surachate Hakparn

General Surachate revealed that Jens Kirch, while he may have fled to Germany, still faced the prospect of prosecution under German law.

Germany, in its own criminal code, allows for the prosecution of sex-related crimes committed by its nationals abroad.

Furthermore, it should be noted that other European Union countries have adopted similar provisions over the last three decades specifically to combat underage sex tourism.

However, it is not clear if the German man can be charged or what the nature of the charges may be, given that the age of consent in Germany is 14 and prostitution, which is the context here, is legal.

Certainly, it appears the charge, if any, may be a diminished one.

At the same time, some European and Scandinavian countries, unlike Germany, criminalise all sex tourism activities by their citizens abroad.

Germany has its own problems with human trafficking with German courts in the last year handing down suspended sentences to 74% of the people convicted

However, despite legal reforms in Germany and the tightening of the criminal code, incidents of child sex trafficking have increased, prompting international observers and advocacy groups to question the efficacy of legal changes in making the regulated and established sex industry there safer.

The 2023 US State Department report on human trafficking highlights a rise in German travellers engaging in underage sex tourism while travelling abroad. 

Additionally, the same report noted a decline in prosecutions for human trafficking in the strategically important European Union country, seen as a key transit centre, and that 74% of all those convicted were handed down suspended sentences.

Big Joke planning to get vital evidence on corruption in Pattaya’s police ranks from the wanted German national by travelling to Germany in January 2024

General Surachate acknowledges the complexities in prosecuting Kirch by Thai authorities. Two conditions emerge from ongoing negotiations: first, if Kirch is subsequently prosecuted in Germany, bringing him back to Thailand, even if this was allowed, becomes a moot point.

Second, the top police officer plans to travel to Germany in January 2024 as Kirch is believed to be cooperating with German prosecutors, potentially providing evidence, including information about alleged bribes to the Thai police in Pattaya and payment routes.

As investigations unfold, substantial concerns about potential criminal offences and disciplinary violations have arisen.

The director and investigating officer concerned with Kirch’s escape from justice in Pattaya face scrutiny for releasing the suspect without adhering to proper rules and procedures. 

The Superintendent of Pattaya Police Station at the time, now promoted to Deputy Commander of Rayong Province, is reported to be not implicated in the case.

Royal Thai Police is also pursuing a 49-year-old American known as Mr Michael who was arrested for being with the same 17-year-old girl as Kirch

An Interpol Red Notice is sought for an unnamed 49-year-old American national, known only as Mr Michael, also caught in the trawl in the Pattaya police crackdown last year alongside Kirch. 

It is understood that the same underage girl who worked at a popular beer bar was involved 

He is understood to have escaped through one of Thailand’s land borders after being charged before the court and also allowed bail.

Interpol is set to issue a Red Notice, while the British bar owner, also charged in the scandal has been placed in Immigration Bureau detention in Thailand. This followed the Deutsche Welle TV exposé. 

The bar venue operated by the UK man was closed after the September 2022 police raids when it was found that it had employed the 17-year-old sex worker. 

Deputy Police Chief is trying to protect the Kingdom’s record on combatting the sex abuse of minors and human trafficking while working on the case

General Surachate, who heads Thailand’s task force on human trafficking as Director of the Child, Woman Protection and Anti-Human Trafficking Centre, remains optimistic about the country’s global ranking despite the Pattaya scandal which came to light in efforts due to police operation targeting underage prostitution in the notorious city. 

Despite Thailand’s current Tier 2.5 ranking by the United States State Department, he believes Thailand can maintain or elevate this standing.

The pursuit of justice against Kirch and others implicated is a critical element in Thailand’s ongoing efforts to combat human trafficking and protect its citizens.

As Big Joke takes a hands-on approach, directly overseeing the efforts against human trafficking, his endeavour to raise Thailand’s profile and credibility on the global stage continues.

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Further reading:

German who skipped bail on sexual assault of a minor charge in Pattaya named by top cop to the press

Big Joke probes Pattaya sex scandal with high stakes not only for ‘Sin City’ but Thailand itself

Fury as police track American and German who bought their way out of child sex abuse in Pattaya

Killer of former bar girl in Pattaya claims he was attacked by the young woman with a glass shard

Calls to legalise prostitution in Thailand after Pattaya sex raid on Walking Street this week

Thailand’s sex industry crackdown sees westerners rounded up at hotel orgy in Pattaya – brothel raided

Thailand tightens screening of foreign English teachers following paedophile arrest

Aussie with Thai wife arrested in Chachoengsao on sex abuse of a minor charge in New South Wales

Australian man jailed for sexually abusing Thai children shows the depravity that authorities must tackle

It’s a hard station for Thai police and foreigners should understand better the job they do to keep order

Calls to legalise prostitution in Thailand after Pattaya sex raid on Walking Street this week