The two men are “late, middle-aged” according to the police, and were arrested in their home in the Thai city of Pattaya early Tuesday morning local time.
“There weren’t just there on a tourist trip, but have been more frequent visitors to Thailand,” said Anders Ahlqvist of the Swedish police’s IT-crimes section, to the TT news agency.
The men are now being transported by plane to Bangkok and have yet to be interrogated. Swedish police are also traveling to Thailand to contribute to the investigation. Should the case proceed to trial, however, it would take place in the Thai courts.
The men’s alleged victims are all younger than 15-years-old, although there were no children in the apartment at the time of the police raid, according to the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper.
The raid on the two Swedes is a part of a special effort by the Swedish National Investigation Department (Rikskriminalen) to combat sex crimes committed by Swedes against children in other countries.
Four people from the agency’s IT-crimes section have been working specifically on such cases, two as investigators and two with intelligence gathering.
The work is being carried out within the framework of the government’s efforts to combat human trafficking.
About a week ago, a Swedish man was also arrested in Cambodia on charges of sexually assaulting children.
“It has a great deal to do with cooperation with local police authorities in target countries, we’re assisting them so that they can engage in effective crime fighting,” said Ahlqvist.
In the current case, Swedish police have provided intelligence about the two Swedes and sent officers to Thailand.
“We can’t carry out a search or other invasive measures there, but we can help the Thai police. There’s a great need for it, because it’s not so easy for them to examine confiscated computers which contain material in Swedish,” said Ahlqvist.
“The Thai police have been much more on the offensive and are now arresting people who commit these types of crimes, which they may not have been known for doing earlier.”
Ahlqvist said that the latest arrests can be seen as the start of something new.
“Now we have the resources to do this sort of work and that’s a clear signal that it’s time to drop the notion that you’re going to a safe haven when you travel to Southeast Asia,” he said.