Thai and Hong Kong police unite to dismantle human trafficking

Photo: Wassayos Ngamkham/ Bangkok Post

The Thai Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division (ATPD) is intensifying its efforts to dismantle international human trafficking rings, particularly those involving Thai women being forced into prostitution in Hong Kong. The mission to reinforce collaborative measures with Hong Kong law enforcement was led by the ATPD’s deputy, Marut Kanchanakanthakul, who travelled to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region for an anti-human trafficking conference from September 20 to September 22.

Saruti Khwaengsopha, the ATPD commander, informed the Bangkok Post about discussions held at the Kowloon West Regional Police Headquarters, focusing on reinforcing their collective efforts against human trafficking. According to Saruti, the ATPD is at the forefront of investigations into cases where Thai women have been trafficked to Hong Kong for prostitution.

Referring to a previous case, Saruti pointed out that the Hong Kong police had visited Thailand on March 23 to share vital information about a Thai woman involved in a transnational human trafficking ring. This information led to the arrest of a 45 year old suspect in the Tha Maka district of Kanchanaburi on May 18, who was later charged with complicity in human trafficking.

The suspect confessed to luring Thai women into prostitution in Hong Kong, for which she received a commission of 10,000 baht per victim. The Hong Kong-based gang subsequently forced these women into prostitution, benefiting from the illicit sex trade. Thankfully, the victims were later rescued by the Hong Kong police and returned to Thailand, where they received assistance.

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Saruti applauded the successful collaboration between the ATPD and Hong Kong police, which resulted in the arrest of other suspects involved in human trafficking. He expressed confidence in the continued joint efforts between Thailand and Hong Kong to combat human trafficking and safeguard potential victims.

Marut revealed that Thailand and Hong Kong are both categorised under Tier 2 in the 2023 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report issued by the US on June 15. During the conference, the Thai delegation also met with members of the Hong Kong Police Force’s Organised Crime and Triad Bureau (OCTB) to discuss strategies for dealing with human trafficking, reported Bangkok Post.

Identifying and Assisting Trafficking Victims

Marut highlighted the importance of efficient information-sharing and coordination, especially in tackling transnational human trafficking cases. He also noted that Thailand has a system in place to identify trafficking victims and provide them with necessary services.

During their visit, the Thai delegation observed a police exercise in Hong Kong that simulated the rescue of forced prostitution victims. Marut expressed that the Thai police could apply these techniques to their operations.

The delegation also visited the Hong Kong Police Force’s Emergency Unit Kowloon West, where they were briefed on a previous operation that rescued two Thai human trafficking victims. The operation was conducted under the instructions of the OCTB chief, with support from the Department of Consular Affairs and the ATPD.

Yan Fong-wai, the OCTB chief inspector, acknowledged that the human trafficking situation in Hong Kong was not unique and confirmed the Hong Kong police’s readiness to collaborate with Thai authorities to combat the issue.

Alan Chung, superintendent of the Kowloon West regional crime unit, also viewed the meeting as a platform for Thai and Hong Kong police to boost cooperation and exchange knowledge and experience. He also revealed plans for a Hong Kong police delegation to visit Thailand for a study trip in the near future.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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