BANGKOK: Thai police on Monday (Feb 26) arrested a group of 10 Russians who were running a sex training class for their compatriots in the seaside town of Pattaya, and have charged them with working in Thailand without permission.
Police said those arrested included Russian national Alex Lesley, a self-proclaimed "sex guru" who made headlines last year following reports that he planned to run in Russia’s presidential election next month.
Lesley, whose real name is Alexander Kirillov, according to Thai police, is not registered as a presidential candidate with the Russian Central Election Commission, however.
The group will be charged with working in Thailand without permission but not for conducting the course, police said.
One of them will also be charged with overstaying his visa and three for entering Thailand illegally without passports, police said, adding that the group ran the course for more than 40 Russian men and women at a hotel in Pattaya.
"They had to pay more than 20,000 baht (US$640) for the course," Pattaya police chief Apichai Krobpet told Reuters.
"We charged all 10 instructors with working without permission," he added. "They came to teach sex education to their fellow countrymen … but the course itself is not illegal."
Police said representatives of Russia’s embassy in Bangkok had arrived in Pattaya to assist the men.
Reuters was not immediately able to contact the men's lawyers. The Russian embassy in the Thai capital did not respond to telephone calls to seek comment.
Pattaya, famed for its nightlife, including strip clubs, some run by Russians, draws many Russian tourists, with many Russian-language signboards in the town centre.
On his official website, Lesley, who has more than 36,000 Instagram followers, recently posted a video of people on a beach he tagged as Monkey Beach on Koh Larn, an island off Pattaya.
Some of the men in the video wear white t-shirts bearing the phrase, Sex Animator. Lesley’s official website advertises a sexual techniques course to run from Feb 17 in Thailand.