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2 Swedes locked-up for life in PI

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2 Swedes locked-up for life in PI

Postby Rock » Thu May 19, 2011 7:17 am

http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/regio ... ailed-life

These 2 Swedes, both in their 30s, ran a cybersex operation along with 2 locals. Operation paid local girls 15,000 Pesos per month to undress in front of webcam for online clients. All of the girls were 19 or older. Here are some details:

- Swedes sentenced to life and 2 mn Peso fine each, PI nationals just 20 years and 1 mn Peso fine each. Does anyone take the judges rational at face value for the sentence differences?

- Court found that girls were forced into the work but that seems quite unlikely given the pay and widespread voluntary prostitution throughout most of the bigger towns and cities.

- Verdict boils down to 2 foreign men being locked-up for life (and 2 local men being handed a much lighter sentence) because they paid adult girls to strip in front of a webcam even though full-on prostitution between local girls and foreigners is legal there.

- It sounds like PI may have plenty of xenophobia and a somewhat arbitrary justice system to boot. Any expat there who believe people and institutions in PI don't discriminate against foreigners on a frequent and widespread basis is like an ostrich with its head in the sand. This case is just one example of the tilted playing fields foreigners must tolerate if they chose to settle in PI.
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Postby ladislav » Thu May 19, 2011 8:03 am

The Swedes were the organizers and the bosses, the Filipinos worked for them.
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Re: 2 Swedes locked-up for life in PI

Postby Repatriate » Thu May 19, 2011 8:31 am

Rock wrote:- It sounds like PI may have plenty of xenophobia and a somewhat arbitrary justice system to boot. Any expat there who believe people and institutions in PI don't discriminate against foreigners on a frequent and widespread basis is like an ostrich with its head in the sand. This case is just one example of the tilted playing fields foreigners must tolerate if they chose to settle in PI.

It's kind of interesting that they got life sentences when an American expat got caught a year ago running a massive international porn operation in Thailand (he was the porn star shooting with Thai go go girls) and he got a slap on the wrist after paying the requisite bribery money. It was even a fairly high profile case that was all over the english newspapers here.

From what i've seen the Phillipines "justice" system is even more out of whack than other SE Asian countries. I remember the grossly incompetent way they handled that stand off with the Hong Kong hostages who got murdered there. In a separate case they nearly threw a Swede in jail over trumped up pedophilia charges. The officials there are just corrupt and venal, if they don't like you for whatever reason they can ruin your life.

The same goes for Thailand really, it's just that here you can usually buy yourself out of problems since there's a precedent set where people know how much to pay to get out of situations.

I do think that with the sort of westernization and colonialism the Phillipines has been through they are much more insecure and can be downright vindictive if provoked. Thais are also insecure and petty a lot of times but if you fall out of sorts with bad people here at least they will give you an opportunity to buy your way out since greed overrides anything else in Thailand.

Btw, I don't think this is simply SE Asia. If western expat men were caught running a similar operation in let's say Korea, Taiwan, or even Japan. I think they would probably get lots of grief for it. Pimping out the host country's women just isn't looked kindly upon no matter where you're at. It's just that in some countries they get downright medieval about it.
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Postby odbo » Thu May 19, 2011 8:43 am

human traffickers never get life sentences. these guys were paying the girls to sit in front of computer screens. 20 to life !?
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Postby Repatriate » Thu May 19, 2011 8:51 am

odbo wrote:human traffickers never get life sentences. these guys were paying the girls to sit in front of computer screens. 20 to life !?

Adam Carolla (the comedian/host for MTV loveline) once made a comment that the Phillipines has Manny Pacquiao and prostitution and that's about it. People in the Phillipines got extremely pissed and even the president there made a press statement over it. Think about it..this was over one innocuous comment by a C-level celebrity in the U.S.

They have an enormous inferiority complex there. The Filipinos i've met all have this to some degree and it's really transparent.
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Postby Rock » Thu May 19, 2011 10:41 am

ladislav wrote:The Swedes were the organizers and the bosses, the Filipinos worked for them. = judge's rational


BUT, even if technically correct, very likely that the Filipinos probably did the bulk of 'procurement' while the westerners set-up the overseas 'marketing campaign' and perhaps the computer infrastructure.

If the specific crimes and perpetrators were switched-over, do you really believe the sentences would have followed suit? Probably wouldn't go down very well at home if so.
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Re: 2 Swedes locked-up for life in PI

Postby Rock » Thu May 19, 2011 11:09 am

Repatriate wrote:
Rock wrote:
The same goes for Thailand really, it's just that here you can usually buy yourself out of problems since there's a precedent set where people know how much to pay to get out of situations.


I'm not sure this applies to drugs cases though, especially if they involve a trafficking charge. Seems like powers that be in Thai there treat ignorant drug mules and small time street dealers worse than violent murders. For example, sentences tend to be harsher and many past sentence reductions and amnesties excluded drug offenders but included murderers and even rapists.

If you get busted for anything serious, your best chance is to work something out with arresting officer or head of local police office. Once the paperwork gets submitted into the system, its almost always too late.

BTW, when slightly higher level foreign dealers are arrested, the arresting officers normally confiscate all visible assets (often millions or even 10s of millions of Baht worth).
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Postby Adama » Thu May 19, 2011 12:53 pm

Does anyone think the Swedish government put pressure on PI? Or no?
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Postby Rock » Thu May 19, 2011 1:30 pm

Adama wrote:Does anyone think the Swedish government put pressure on PI? Or no?


I kinda doubt it. Its actually legal to sell sexual services in Sweden even though its illegal to purchase them. Also, I believe Sweden's justice system is a rather sympathetic one. Society at large somehow shares some responsibility with people who commit crimes. Prison conditions are considered very comfortable and safe compared to counterparts in most other parts of the world and penal system emphasizes rehabilitation, not punishment or deterrence.

I've read cases about hard core child porn consumers in Sweden being sentenced to just a few months in prison.
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Re: 2 Swedes locked-up for life in PI

Postby Repatriate » Fri May 20, 2011 6:36 pm

Rock wrote:
I'm not sure this applies to drugs cases though, especially if they involve a trafficking charge.
Seems like powers that be in Thai there treat ignorant drug mules and small time street dealers worse than violent murders. For example, sentences tend to be harsher and many past sentence reductions and amnesties excluded drug offenders but included murderers and even rapists.

You're correct. A lot of drug trafficking in SE Asia is actually secretly and not so secretly controlled by high level corrupt police, military, or border officials. In Thailand the "mules" that get caught with kilos are almost always foreign drug runners. They bust these guys and parade them in front of the cameras to ward off the competition. The drug turf is nasty and machiavellian in SE Asia and makes the 80's cocaine cowboy era in Miami look like child's play.

You do see Thais get busted though but usually it's independent runners or smaller cartels.

One thing you'll notice is how Nigerians, Cameroonians, etc.. seem to have free rein to deal in Bangkok. This isn't because they are independent..it's because they are working for people higher up on that chain (who is a Thai middle man) who gave them the greenlight.

They keep the africans around because they live and play separately from the thai middleman/upper network and can actively peddle to the foreigner party population. Also, if they get caught it's easy to wash their hands of it and blame black foreigners for the drugs. Since Thais are naive about a lot of things they tend to buy into the drug problem being brought on by foreigners instead of cleaning up the high level organized crime happening under their noses.
BTW, when slightly higher level foreign dealers are arrested, the arresting officers normally confiscate all visible assets (often millions or even 10s of millions of Baht worth).

...or in some cases outright murdered/disappeared. There's a lot of cases involving foreigners and dead foreigners that never make the press here.
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