RED LIGHT JIHAD: Thai Vice Under Attack
By Mark Oltmanns and Patrick Winn
"Red Light Jihad: Thai Vice Under Attack" is a short documentary on jihadi attacks against sleaze in Thailand’s southern borderlands. Much of the video focuses on Sungai Golok, a surreal sex tourism hotspot that Thailand’s tourism authorities don’t like to talk about. It’s a little bit Tijuana and a little bit Kabul — a party town raging in the middle of an Islamic insurgency.
Everything that makes Thailand notorious is there: booze, late nights and prostitution. In lieu of Western men, the city’s brothels attract guys from nearby Malaysia, where raunchy nightlife is forbidden under Sharia law. Each night, men wade into a conflict zone where guerrillas wage war to wrench free a new Islamic state. The hostilities have racked up more conflict deaths in the last decade than the Gaza Strip.
"Pin is stumbling drunk. When she bends down to refill a customer's Heineken, her hair dips into the beer. Her breath smells like menthols and fish sauce. She is shrieking advances in tortured English at any male who passes by.
None of this is particularly odd in Sungai Golok, a gritty border town in Thailand. Pin is a 35-year-old sex worker in one of the city's countless open-air bars. Cooing at strangers and plying them with overpriced beer is part of her job.
But nerves are extra raw tonight. The city is under attack.