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Illegal massage parlours open in Tavoy near deep-sea port

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Illegal massage parlours have moved into Tavoy to take advantage of foreign workers with the start of the Tavoy (Dawei) deep-sea port and infrastructure development project next year.

The Tavoy (Dawei) deep-sea port project envisions that new Burmese trans-border corridors will promote regional integration. Through the port and transport links, an average of 10 days will be cut from the journey of goods bound for Thailand, China, Vietnam and Laos as cargo will no longer need to pass through the Strait of Malacca. Map: Dawei Development ProjectIn early July, even though work on the deep-sea port in Taninthayi Region is months away, illegal massage parlours began appearing in the city, said residents.

Residents said there are now eight illegal massage parlours in Tavoy, which comprises 15 quarters; three are in Sanchi Quarter where many government offices are located; four are in Wellkyun Quarter; and one is in Kyaksarpyin Quarter.

According to early estimates, the deep-sea port project will cost US$ 8 billion. The Italian-Thai Company, the largest construction company in Thailand, announced that the project would start in 2012.

Tavoy, located 20 miles from the project area, is the nearest town. Currently, local and foreign project-related business owners usually lodge at hotels in Tavoy.

On the other hand, a district-level rank police officer in Tavoy told Mizzima that there were no illegal massage parlours or prostitution businesses in Tavoy.

However, a resident close to the Tavoy District Police Station said that the owners of massage parlours are required to pay monthly bribes to authorities including officials of the Township Administrative Office, police officers and officers from the Military Affairs Security Unit.

Although the Township Administration has allowed massage parlours to operate between 11 a.m. to 12 p.m, customers can stay at some parlours overnight, the resident said.

A business owner told Mizzima that most of the female masseurs in the parlours are from Irrawaddy Region rural towns or they formerly worked at massage parlours in Rangoon. The parlour owners provided fares for them to come from Rangoon to Tavoy to work in the parlours, he said.

The parlours in Tavoy charge 4,500 kyat (about US$ 0.50) per two-hour massage session or 25,000 kyat for an overnight session, according to a business owner. The female masseurs are usually around 20 years old, but range from age 18 to 40.

Until a few months ago, there were up to 3,500 illegal massage parlours in Rangoon. On May 27, the Rangoon Region Administration issued an order to close massage parlours and karaoke lounges. Massage parlours began to be reopened less than one month after the order. Due to the massive closures of the parlours in Rangoon, many masseurs have also traveled to border area towns to find work, according to local journals.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, news reports said about 50 Italian-Thai Company workers were evacuated back to Thailand to escape fighting between Karen soldiers and Burmese army troops near their camp base.

A Karen National Liberation Army source told Karen News that on Saturday KNLA fighters from Brigade 4 torched a temporary Burmese army camp on the Kanchanaburi-Tavoy highway. An Italian-Thai Company camp, known as Base 1, is close to the Burmese army camp at Ah Leh Sa Toe on the Thai-Burma border.

Fierce fighting between a Burmese army patrol and Karen soldiers unnerved the Italian-Thai workers, said the journal.
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 02 August 2011 19:16 )  

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