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Of Thai porn and politics: Natt Chanapa pornography scandal, Act II

By William Sparrow
February 16, 2005

Bangkok - Not unlike the Anara Gupta sex video scandal in India where a former beauty queen is accused of appearing in a pornography video, the Natt Chanapa scandal in Thailand is also proving to be an enduring and ongoing saga for the Thai starlet.

On August 2 last year Asian Sex Gazette reported that the mainstream, although not yet well known, actress Natt Chanapa, (a/k/a: Kesarin Chaichalermpol, Natt Kesarin, or simply Nong Natt by locals), was discovered by authorities to have appeared in a hardcore pornography video that was being distributed on the black market and on the internet.

Such hardcore pornography is technically illegal in Thailand and the actress could face a possible jail term. However the summons that was issued in July of last year and that is being reiterated this week by Thailand's Crime Suppression Division, simply asks that the actress appear to answer questions regarding the ongoing investigation. It does not compel or require her to appear and thus far Chanapa has chosen not to meet with police.

Indeed meeting with police may only add to her woes as any questions she answers or statements she makes are likely to incriminate her more and possibly lead to her prosecution. The actress sought legal assistance last year when the case broke from The Law Society of Thailand, which advised that an earlier statement she made, in which she said she was 'not willing' to act in the movie, to press could be used against to her and that she should remain silent on the issue.

Culture and Politics
Thailand's Buddhist culture is generally conservative about sexuality in the typical Asian sense. This is a deep contrast to the notorious reputation that the country has gained for prostitution, live sex shows and red light districts.

Yet the government works constantly to keep the 'dark influences' in check and to at least restrain the sex and pornography industries. The government even employs a special section of its police force consisting of computer experts who constantly seek out Thai pornography on the web and block access to it within the country; and in some cases track down and prosecute adult webmasters when they are located in Thailand.

For all the pomp and circumstance of the case and Thailand's omnipresent war on dark influences, the people themselves seem less than concerned with the seemingly consensual videos Nong Natt has made and pornography in general.

Asian Sex Gazette was surprised to learn that with the media and police attention Ms Chanapa gained as a result of the investigation that she became instantly popular and was offered large sums for mainstream acting and modeling jobs. In addition, and far more striking, was the widespread mainstream interest in the video itself. It would seem that if there were only ten copies of the illicit VCD in Thailand before the story broke, that by the following day millions of copies were changing hands throughout Thailand.

But most fascinating about this development was that the heavy circulation of the video was not limited to the back alley pirate VCD shops of Patpong. Instead the video made it into the homes and businesses of middle-class Thailand. Hotel employees from major resorts told ASG that the video was being sold amongst the staff for 20 baht each (about $.50 USD), and employees were snapping them up.

Days later a friend of this writer related a story where he went to co-worker's home and found the all female staff of a major five-star spa had gathered for a special 'porn night' screening of the Chanapa video.

It would seem that the government's effort to suppress the illicit material only served to fan the flames of popularity of Ms Chanapa and the video itself, taking the underground video from the shadowy black market and thrusting it into mainstream pop culture.

Blue Debut, Act II
Unreported in the media but making the rounds on various online pornography sites is a second video as of yet unmentioned by police and generally unknown to most of the Thai public. The additional title appears to be a compilation of scenes that Natt Chanapa did at different times during her 'pornography career.'



The video in question is a compilation that roughly translates from Thai to English as 'Flower Blossom'. The VCD that Asian Sex Gazette was able to track down, which was no small feat, has six segments ranging from striptease to masturbation to full intercourse all featuring Ms Chanapa. The first four clips of the video are new, while the later clips are from the video that drew police attention.

This video could prove to be more damning to Ms Chanapa than the single scene 1st movie that initially drew the attention of police. The second video appears to contain clips that were seemingly taken at different periods of time in Chanapa's life. In some clips she is notably thinner or has a lighter complexion, or is in a different shoot location, suggesting that these clips were made over a period of time rather than a single shoot. Giving rise to the notion that Chanapa engaged in the pornography industry for an extended period of time and certainly for multiple productions.



Nevertheless as damning as this may seem to the conservative watchdogs within Thailand's law enforcement circles, the general acceptance of such material and Chanapa's mainstream following - as evidenced by the popularity of the video in the general public and the entertainment industry embracing Chanapa after the story broke - seems to indicate that no matter the level of pressure and prosecution that the government levies at Ms Chanapa that it will only serve to bolster her popularity while undermining the prosecution's and court's ability to enforce any type of harsh sentence due to negative public opinion regarding punishing Chanapa.

Unlike the former Miss Jammu Anara Gupta sex video scandal and ongoing court battle being waged in India, there has not been public outcry in Thailand for pornography law reforms or pressure to prosecute by the public. Making it unlikely that the case will ever be fully prosecuted, or even so, that any subsequent penalties would be excessively harsh or worth the prosecution's efforts.

At least for the time being Thais in general seem to be taking their characteristic 'Mai bpen rai,' (Don't worry about it), approach to this issue; an approach that authorities may also be considering.

Asian Sex Gazette's Deputy Editor Lev Jameson contributed research to this article.

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Kesarin to answer porn video charge 
2-15-2005

Thai actress faces summons over porn film
8-2-2004

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