Former Thai sex tycoon vies to become lawmaker

Former Thai sex tycoon vies to become lawmaker

Pimp to Robin Hood

And in his quest to win a parliament seat in elections Sunday, the 49-year-old one-time massage parlour king is betting a public tired of divisive, hypocritical leaders will agree.

Politicians “are like diapers — you have to change them,” Chuvit said in an interview, referring to a campaign poster that features him cradling a toddler. “Otherwise it’s too dirty.”

Chuvit’s bid to become a lawmaker is no joke. He first won a national assembly seat back in 2005, only to be disqualified the following year because he had not been a member of his party long enough before the poll.

He’s also run for Bangkok governor twice, coming in a distant third both times. His last campaign nose-dived after he punched a newscaster in the face for asking questions he didn’t like. “When I got into politics, I didn’t know that it’s too dirty for me — even me,” Chuvit said ruefully.

With the air and swagger of a mafia don, the stocky, mustachioed Chuvit plays the part of former sex boss well. Since selling off his brothels, he has become a kind of pimp-turned-Robin Hood — exploiting his own past to legitimise his crusade against graft.

It all began in 2003, when he was accused of the unauthorised, overnight demolition of scores of unlicensed bars and shops from a downtown Bangkok block he owned.

The brutal move erupted into a major public scandal, and when the police failed to protect him, Chuvit fought back by exposing the behemoth bribes he had to pay to keep his mighty empire of flesh running. Confirming that open secret turned him into an unlikely folk hero among Bangkok residents.

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