Phang Nga officer charged with trafficking kicked off force, awaits trial

PHUKET: The first police officer in Thailand to be charged with human trafficking has been discharged from the Royal Thai Police force.

Weerayuth Feuangfu, formerly a sergeant major with the Phang Nga police, is free on bail as he awaits his trial in early November on charges of human trafficking, helping a refugee leave a shelter and abusing his position as an officer (story here).

The charges stem from the case of a Rohingya woman who reported that she was repeatedly raped after being smuggled out of a refugee shelter in Phang Nga on May 27 (story here).

Mr Weerayuth is accused of helping the woman and four others leave the shelter. A former employee of Mr Weerayuth’s, Korlimula Ramahatu, is facing charges for human trafficking and rape.

Mr Weerayuth was suspended from the police force in early July and stripped of his badge later that month, said Phang Nga Provincial Police Commander Chalit Kaewyarat.

He appeared in court on October 10 to set the date for the trial to begin, said Prosecutor Suthanee Sripitak.

The trial is expected to conclude by January next year.

Because Mr Weerayuth was a police officer at the time of the alleged crime, if found guilty, his punishment will be double that of a civilian’s.

Section 13 of the Anti-Human Trafficking Act BE 2551 stipulates that any government official found engaging in human trafficking is subject to literally “twice” the punishment for any breaches of the Act.

— Irfarn Jamdukor

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