Thai justice minister supports DSI in bribery, human trafficking probe

Justice Minister Tawee Sodsong stepped forward to support the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) as it investigates accusations of bribery and human trafficking levelled against two previous Cabinet ministers and two high-ranking officials involved in the supply of Thai labour to Finland.

Tawee, who spoke before the regular Tuesday Cabinet meeting, denied any form of victimisation in the joint inquiry conducted by the DSI and public prosecutors. He clarified that the case is centred around alleged offences committed outside Thailand, with the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) initiating an investigation only after being informed of the charges against the alleged perpetrators by Finnish police and the Finnish embassy.

The Finnish police had gathered evidence in the case and there was also the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act. The OAG then instigated an investigation, with the DSI joining the probe, Tawee said.

The investigation included witness interviews and examination of documentary and forensic evidence. The OAG and the DSI were in consensus, and it wasn’t just an individual’s opinion, the minister added.

Tawee also underscored that Finnish investigators had made multiple trips to Thailand, a fact he cited from an official report but did not disclose any further details to avoid compromising the case.

In the pursuit of justice, the DSI focused its investigations on evidence and fairness for all parties involved, Tawee stated, stressing that there was no victimisation of the individuals implicated in this case.

Job placement

Former Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin vehemently denied receiving any payment or having any involvement in human trafficking activities related to the job placement scheme.

Last week, the DSI released a statement declaring its pursuit of misconduct charges against two former ministers and two senior officials at the Labour Ministry, without disclosing any names. The charges revolved around the alleged payment of 36 million baht for the approval of sending Thai workers to Finland.

As per the DSI, a collective of politicians, civil servants, and civilians allegedly demanded a Thai job broker to pay an average of 3,000 baht for each worker dispatched to harvest wild berries in the Nordic country. This special requirement was then transferred to about 12,000 Thai workers from 2020 to 2023, costing them a total of about 36 million baht, in addition to the usual expenses.

Suchart, who began his term as labour minister in August 2020, stated that he has appointed a team of lawyers for advice and as of now, no charges have been filed against him.

He also claimed that he was unjustly treated as the charges against him were made by a female broker who lacked supporting evidence. He alleged that the broker faced legal action in Finland and implicated senior officials to secure her release, reported Bangkok Post.

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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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