Connect with us

Phuket

Scores of human trafficking victims rounded up north of Phuket

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published 

 on 

PHUKET: More than 80 human trafficking victims fleeing Bangladesh were arrested north of Phuket in Phang Nga early this morning, a human rights foundation worker confirmed to the Phuket Gazette.

“All of them came from Bangladesh, where they found it too difficult to survive in the refugee camp, so they decided to come to Malaysia,” said Htoo Chit, executive director and founder of the Foundation for Education and Development (FED) (story here).

“They have not all said that they are Rohingya, most of them confirmed to us that the are Bengali. However, some did mention that they are Rohingya and had been living in UNHCR’s refugee camp near the Myanmar-Bangladesh border.”

FED has been working on human trafficking issues for almost nine years, providing translation services, as well as some humanitarian assistance. A FED team was on-site helping the refugees this morning, Mr Htoo explained.

The trafficking victims had spent about 19 days on boats travelling from Bangladesh to Thailand, where they were to be then smuggled into Malaysia.

“Thai and Bengali brokers were handling them. Some of them were beaten due to language barriers,” Mr Htoo said.

The refugees told Mr Htoo’s team that they paid about 180,000 taka (about 75,000 baht) to be smuggled into Malaysia.

However, during the interviews conducted by FED workers, one victim explained that he hadn’t paid to go to Malaysia, but had been forced onto the boat.

“I didn’t want to go, they forced me… My hands were tied and they put me in a boat. I don’t want to go to either Malaysia or any other country. I was kicked while we sailed to Thailand, and I was beaten when I was on the island in Thailand. I would like to back to Bangladesh,” said a man, who translators named only as Mr Mohamad, 35.

The more than 80 individuals detained were caught in two groups – no women or children were part of either of the groups, Mr Htoo confirmed.

“Six of them look very young, but they said that they are 18 years old,” Mr Htoo said.

The first group were kept on a Thai island for about five days before they were transferred to Takuapa in Phang Nga.

“A source told us that a group of Rohingya were sneaking through a rubber tree plantation,” Takuapa District Chief Manit Pianthong said.

“Two Thai nationals were on guard to keep an eye out for officials. They have been arrested for their role in the human trafficking network.”

Prakob Mard-Ardum, 43, and the other Thai national, who police declined to name as he is a minor, can face charges under Section 63 of the criminal code, which states: “Whoever brings or takes an alien into the Kingdom or does anything which helps, assists or facilitates an alien in making and entry into the Kingdom in contravention of this Act, shall be punished by imprisonment not exceeding 10 years and a fine not exceeding 100,000 Baht.”

“They both confessed that they were paid 500 baht to watch out for officers. They told us that they had done this many times in the past few months,” Mr Manit said.

Counter to the information provided by translators on-site, Mr Manit believes that the men detained are all Rohingya from the war torn Rakhine State in Myanmar.

Police suspect that 12 men escaped during the first raid.

The second group of about 30 men were quickly caught by Thai officials, Mr Htoo confirmed. However, his team has yet to speak with them.

Mr Manit believes hundreds of refuges are still in hiding in the area.

“Human trafficking like this has existed in Thai society for a long time. I believe that there are very powerful people behind all of this,” said one Thai official who declined to be named.

Additional reporting by Kritsada Mueanhawong

— Isaac Stone Simonelli

 

Want more Thailand news from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📝️ Join the conversation on Thaiger Talk - discuss news & life in our Thailand forums
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand8 mins ago

Thailand News Today | AoT warns about tourist exuberance, easing of restrictions | June 22

Coronavirus (Covid-19)55 mins ago

CCSA: Bars to stay closed for now, drunk customers risk the spread of Covid-19

Bangkok2 hours ago

Woman dies after jumping from Phra Khanong BTS station in Bangkok

Phuket Sandbox July 1st

days
hours
minutes
seconds

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 hours ago

263 covid cases linked to canned seafood factory in Songkhla

Drugs2 hours ago

Narcotics Control Board announce recent drug busts, heroin and cocaine sent by mail

Environment3 hours ago

3 Cambodian activists arrested for plotting against the government/insulting the king after documenting waste run-off

Chiang Mai3 hours ago

Chiang Mai eases restrictions, alcohol now allowed at restaurants

Thailand3 hours ago

Angry ex allegedly sets motorcycle on fire in school parking garage

Cambodia4 hours ago

6 arrested in Cambodia for allegedly trafficking people into Thailand

Coronavirus (Covid-19)4 hours ago

Tuesday Covid Update: 4,059 new cases; provincial totals

Thailand5 hours ago

Power outages coming to Kathu

Coronavirus (Covid-19)5 hours ago

Samut Sakhon governor calls for more vaccine doses after order was cut

Thailand6 hours ago

Fruit buyer arrested for allegedly using counterfeit certificates to export durian

Tourism7 hours ago

Airports of Thailand president says tourism won’t pick back up until October

Thailand7 hours ago

Mobile sterilisation/vaccination truck helps Pattaya’s cats and dogs

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism4 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Trending