Police Colonel Suthep nosed his car into the narrow space between vendor carts and stepped out into the sweltry night, narrowly avoiding a dead rat in the gutter. At a makeshift stall on the footpath, an old woman wove animals out of palm leaves, a small child asleep on her lap, both oblivious to the heaving crowd of drink-flushed men and barely dressed women behind them. Suthep checked his watch – eleven o’clock – and glanced up. The old neon sign in Thai and English had been replaced since his last visit. The new one blazed with the words ‘NANA PLAZA’ flanked by neon silhouettes of naked pole dancers, ‘The World’s Largest Adult Playground’ in smaller print below. Suthep guessed the Thai characters were omitted to make the place less noticeable – a classic example of trying to hide a dead elephant with a lotus leaf…
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