Thai PM orders probe into Rohingya boat incident off the coast of Satun

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered an investigation after a boat carrying 65 ethnic Rohingya and five Burmese men was swept into the shore at Koh Rawi off the coast of Satun in southern Thailand.

The PM has asked officials to find out who was behind the incident. The PM has also urged public health agencies to provide the immigrants with health check-ups and prevent the spread of any likely contagious diseases. The national police inspector-general Pol General Suchat Theerasawat says police were searching for more accomplices.

The 49 year old Thai boat captain Sangkhom Paphan, and five Burmese men on-board have been charged with bringing illegal immigrants into Thailand. Police are also checking if they are part of a Rohingya human-trafficking ring.

A high-ranked official source told The Nation that the trafficking of Rohingya people had changed. Those Rohingya currently in Malaysia now contact a trafficking ring in Myanmar directly to transport their Rohingya relatives to a third country via boat, car or train. The trafficking ring then hires Thai people to take the immigrants through Thailand to their destination, the source said.

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The source said the change had taken place since the arrest in 2015 of former high-ranking military officer Lt-General Manas Kongpan along with Pajjuban Angchotephan, a former president of the Satun Provincial Administrative Organisation, and Padang Besar Municipality’s former mayor, Banjong Pongphon.

SOURCE: The Nation

South Thailand News

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