Trial of 88 human trafficking suspects begins

Trial of 88 human trafficking suspects begins
WRITER: ONLINE REPORTERS

Eighty-eight defendants charged over the trafficking of Rohingya migrants from Myanmar appeared in the Criminal Court on Tuesday for the initial examination of evidence and witnesses in their trial.

They include former senior army adviser Lt Gen Manas Kongpan and Patchuban Angchotphan, or Ko Tong, the former head of the Satun provincial administration organisation.

The 88 defendants arrived under close escort by prison wardens.

The are accused of colluding in the trafficking of Bangladeshi and Rohingya migrants between January 2011 and May 1 this year. They allegedly offered to smuggle them to jobs in Malaysia. Instead many of the illegal migrants were allegedly taken to jungle camps along the Thai-Malaysian border and extorted for extra payment.

The camps had been tightly guarded by guards of the trafficking network to prevent the captive migrants escaping. Food and water had been severely rationed at the camps and many of the inmates had died, it is alleged.

The court has set four days for the examination of evidence and witnesses, from today until Friday, Nov 13. The defendants will not be taken to the court on Wednesday and Thursday. No relatives or media representatives were allowed to attend.

Security was tight at the court on Tuesday, with Crime Suppression Division commando police and Phahon Yothin police helping guard the court building and grounds.

The courts have issued arrest warrants for 153 suspects in human trafficking. Of those, 91 suspects have been arrested and 88 of them have been arraigned in court. The three others are still being detained.

The case was moved to the Criminal Court in Bangkok on Sept 29 after prosecutors in Songkhla appealed to the Supreme Court in August, asking that the trial be transferred. They said the case involved a transnational gang and many state officials were involved. It had drawn much attention from the public and international communities and the Na Thawi Court in Songkhla was too small to accommodate all the defendants and lawyers.

Earlier this year 32 graves believed to contain the remains of Bangladeshi and Rohingya illegal migrants were found in Padang Besar in Sadao district of Songkhla, which borders Malaysia.

The relatives of two Rohingya migrants had filed a complaint with police, saying the pair were detained at a remote jungle camp in the area. One of the two migrants was reportedly killed but the other managed to escape.

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เนื้อหาข่าวที่รวบรวมในเว็บไซต์นี้ เป็นการรวบรวมเพื่อการศึกษาวิจัยเท่านั้น อันเป็นประโยชน์ต่อสาธารณะ มิได้นำไปเพื่อการค้าแต่อย่างใด

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