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Traffickers exploit vulnerable Vietnamese

Greeley Pulitzer

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Traffickers exploit vulnerable Vietnamese | The Thaiger
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“Many young Vietnamese head for the cities or gamble on their chances in Europe, out of devotion to their families, to escape a life of manual labour.”

For a lot of Vietnamese, a job in Western Europe is seen as a path to prosperity and worth breaking the law for. And risking their lives. The risks are high and the consequences can be deadly, as the discovery of 39 bodies in a truck in England last week shows.

The victims were all Asian migrants who had apparently paid traffickers to smuggle them into the country. Now residents of a small rural Vietnamese community fear that two cousins were among the dead.

“I miss him very much,” said one father, who anxiously awaited word on his 18 year old son.

“That’s life. We have to sacrifice to earn a better living. He’s a good son. He wanted to go overseas to work and take care of parents when we get old. He insisted to go, for a better life.”

The boy’s mother recounted the story of her son dropping out of school in the ninth grade. He started working because they were so poor.

“He helped out by going fishing with his father. But fishing trips didn’t bring a lot.”

“He couldn’t find a job. That’s why he wanted to go.”

The family borrowed the equivalent of 17,500 dollars for him to be smuggled into France.

Families normally pay half the trafficker’s fee before the trip and the rest when the person reaches the destination. The boy’s family was never asked for the second payment, increasing fears he is among the dead.

Many young Vietnamese head for the cities or gamble on their chances in Europe, out of devotion to their families, to escape a life of manual labour, or a yearning for the trappings of wealth. But the journey of thousands of miles to Western Europe is dangerous, especially for women and children.

“There is a very high risk of sexual exploitation on the way,” according to Mimi Vu, who acts as an anti-trafficking activist based in Vietnam.

“If you’re traveling by yourself with a bunch of men, what do you think is going to happen? If they think they can make money off of you, they will.”

Safe passage rarely brings migrants real financial reward. Smuggling fees leave many migrants in a state of servitude or virtual slavery trying to repay the trafficking costs.

“The costs are typically 40,000 to 50,000 US dollars, plus interest, to be smuggled into England, and when they get there money is withheld from their meagre pay, leaving them with little or nothing.”

Paying off such debt can take years.

“There are legal and safe ways for Vietnamese to earn money overseas. They are not cheap, but they are less expensive than dealing with traffickers. Travel arranged by legitimate employment agencies ranges from 3,000 to 5,000 US dollars.”

SOURCE: Associated Press

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Crime

Romeo robber arrested for drugging women in their homes

Greeley Pulitzer

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Romeo robber arrested for drugging women in their homes | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Police escort "Suchin after his arrest - Thai Residents
Lonely hearts beware: a serial robber has been arrested after meeting up with girls for a night of fun but instead robbing them in their own homes. Police arrested a 28 year old man, who they named only as “Suchin,” in the eastern province of Chonburi on Thursday.

One victim told authorities she met Suchin on a dating site in August. She told police that they talked for a while and agreed to meet up at the girl’s house. Once there, Suchin drugged the girl by putting sleeping pills in her drink. When she woke up, Suchin was gone, along with all of her valuables. At least 100,000 baht worth of goods were missing after Suchin’s visit. The case took place in the upper central Uthai Thani province.

But officials have learned that Suchin committed similar crimes numerous times in different provinces. Courts in Bangkok, Kanchanaburi, Uthai Thani and Kalasin provinces had arrest warrants for the serial “Romeo robber”. All cases follow the same pattern.

Police claim Suchin has confessed to his crimes.

SOURCE: Thai Residents

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Crime

“Greetings from Thailand”, escaped convict sends Belgian prison a postcard

Greeley Pulitzer

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“Greetings from Thailand”, escaped convict sends Belgian prison a postcard | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Oualid Sekkaki, who escaped from Turnhout prison last month - HLN

“Greetings from Thailand”.

That was the message on the postcard sent to the directors of a Belgian prison. The sender? The management of Turnhout prison believe the greeting letter was from Oualid Sekkaki, who escaped last month. Sekkaki is one of five inmates who escaped from the Flemish prison in mid-December.

The letter was addressed to the three directors of the prison. In the envelope was his prison badge and a postcard with the words ‘Greetings from Thailand’. Sekkaki escaped from the Belgian prison with four other inmates on December 19, climbing over the prison wall then jumping into in a waiting getaway vehicle. Three of the men were recaptured in a nearby neighbourhood the following evening. A fourth, identified at the time as 38 year old Abderrahim Baghat, was captured by police in the Netherlands.

Monday’s postcard is the first sign of Sekkaki since his escape. Officers of the prison immediately informed police.

Oualid Sekkaki is the brother of the notorious “escape king” Ashraf Sekkaki, who also escaped from Turnhout prison in 2003, and Bruges prison ten years ago, in a hijacked helicopter. Ashraf is currently in prison in Morocco.

There is no indication if Sekkaki is actually in Thailand and Thai authorities haven’t confirmed if they’ve been contacted by Belgian police.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

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Bangkok

More human remains found submerged in metal casket in suspect’s pond

Greeley Pulitzer

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More human remains found submerged in metal casket in suspect’s pond | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Divers retrieve an old casket found a Bangkok pond - Pornprom Satrabhaya

In a story that grows grislier with each new discovery… now an old metal casket with more than 30 human bones has been retrieved from a pond at the Bangkok home of Apichai Ongwisit, dubbed “Ice Heep Lek” (metal casket killer), who has already been charged with murdering his girlfriend and disposing of her corpse on his property.

Nearly 300 human bones have already been retrieved from the lake. At least 40 divers from various agencies participated in the search of the pond in Bang Khae district, west of Bangkok city. The pond, covering about two rai, was split into 14 separate zones for the search. After only 30 minutes divers recovered 10 bones and a knife.

Then around 2:20pm they discovered and brought to the surface an old metal casket containing at least another 30 human bones, including a skull, an eight kilogram dumbbell, a chain, T-shirt and pair of shorts and some rope.

More human remains found submerged in metal casket in suspect's pond | News by The Thaiger

Piya Uthayo, Thailand’s assistant national police chief, were present during the increasingly grisly search. He says the skull and bones might be those of a small woman. The chief of Bangkok’s Metropolitan Police Bureau said the bones appear to belong to a woman over 18 years old.

Police now believe there could be three or more corpses.

Last Friday, divers retrieved the bones from the pond, about five metres away from where they found a human skeleton a week earlier. The skeleton was wrapped in clothes and a bedsheet and hidden under a massive metal object and fastened to dumbbells by chains.

40 year old Apichai Ongwisit was arrested at his house earlier this month after police found the body of 22 year old Warinthorn “Kuk-kik” Chaiyachet from Sakon Nakhon in the northeast.

Apichai has reportedly admitted to killing the woman in August last year. According to local media reports, Apichai used drugs and began an intimate relationship with the woman and soon fell in love with her.

He reportedly ordered her to sleep in a metal casket, which he locked to ensure she did not leave him. When he opened the casket in the morning, he found she had died from suffocation, or so the narrative goes in the Thai media.

31 year old Chanchai Nakhiew-ngam, a former girlfriend of Apichai, told police he has a violent temper and she believes there are more corpses on the grounds of his sprawling, 20 rai property, but denied any involvement in the deaths, according to police.

SOURCE: The Bangkok Post

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