Assets valued at more than 1 billion baht have been seized from human trafficking operations in Thailand where Burmese people were trafficked from the northern province Tak down to the Malaysian border. The Deputy Commissioner of the Royal Thai Police, Surachate “Big Joke” Hakparn, made the announcement at a recent press conference, adding that authorities are still investigating and plan to make more arrests.
Early in the investigation, back in June 2019, police in Surat Thani arrested people allegedly involved in a human trafficking operation, the deputy commissioner said. More suspects, allegedly from the same group, were arrested in September of 2019 in the neighbouring province Nakhon Si Thammarat, according to Big Joke. Both Thai and Burmese suspects allegedly trafficked Burmese people from the northern province Tak, which borders Myanmar and took them down to Malaysia.
After further investigation, the officers found the gang was also involved in money laundering. More suspects were arrested in Prachuap Kiri Khan, Ranong, Phuket, and Pattani. Authorities seized 25 bank accounts with over 980 million baht, six houses, six cars, five motorcycles, 12 ships, 560 grams of gold, luxury accessories, and guns. Reports say the gang avoided using cash and spent gold instead.
Big Joke said the authorities would conduct more investigations and track their financial transactions, which could lead to more arrests and cut their connections.
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