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Human trafficking victims moved out of Phang Nga, await deportation

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PHUKET: The first wave of human trafficking victims have been moved from Phang Nga, north of Phuket, to Ranong and Songkhla provinces, where they will await deportation.

Police yesterday questioned 80 of the human trafficking victims that were rounded up in Phang Nga in two raids earlier this week (stories here and here). Most of the refugees claimed to have come from Bangladesh, while a few confirmed that they had come from the war-torn Rakhine state in Myanmar.

“We had to move 56 of the people we questioned to other provinces, as our facilities here cannot handle the number of refugees we have taken in,” Takuapa District Chief Manit Pianthong told the Phuket Gazette yesterday.

“They will be held at the Southern Welfare and Vocational Training Centers for Women in Ranong and Songkhla until we are able to deport them.”

Mr Manit was unclear about the specific destination to which the refugees would be deported.

The remaining victims are being held in temporary custody at the Takuapa Community Hall. They will be transported elsewhere once they have been questioned, confirmed Mr Manit.

An investigation is ongoing into the human traffickers, but police have yet to press any charges.

“We are in the evidence-collecting phase right now,” said Mr Manit.

The investigation was launched following the round-up of human trafficking victims, as well as the arrest of a “caretaker” (story here) and two lookouts.

— Kritsada Mueanhawong

 

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