Thai cops in lather over Bangkok ‘soapy massage’ brothel water theft

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BANGKOK: Thai police are checking dozens of Bangkok mega-brothels to see if they are illegally siphoning off groundwater for "soapy massages" offered to clients that may be contributing to the gradual sinking of the capital.

The crackdown was launched after a trafficking raid on "Victoria Secret" massage parlour found underage sex workers, a ledger listing bribes to officials and evidence that the venue was stealing groundwater to avoid paying pricy utility bills.

Environmental officials say the illegal tapping of water is contributing to the sinking of Bangkok, a low-lying city built on the banks of the Chao Phraya River.

More than 40 "soapy massage" parlours - huge brothels with dozens of private bathrooms where customers receive sexual services - are being inspected for water theft.

"Today, we will... examine the water quality of each room we will go inside," Mr Suwat Inthasit, deputy commander of the Natural Resources and Environment Crime Suppression Division, told reporters before leading a raid on the "Embassy Entertain" massage parlour.

Experts have warned that parts of Bangkok could be submerged by 2030, chiefly due to rising sea levels and the draining of groundwater in the capital's swampy soil. - AFP