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A Ranong Immigration truck heads for the Andaman Club pier on Satuday

Captive Rohingya 'Being Sold By Thai Officials'

Monday, October 21, 2013
PHUKET: Captive Rohingya are being smuggled out of Thailand in secret in sales deals negotiated between human traffickers and Immigration officials, Phuketwan has been told by well-informed sources.

The unwanted boatpeople are being carried by local boats from a pier in the Thai-Burma port of Ranong to a trafficker's vessel for transfer south to Malaysia and sale, the sources say.

Reporters were able to confirm at the weekend the suspicious movement of Rohingya men and women to Ranong.

Conversations by mobile telephone have also confirmed that traffickers are already offering people for sale at 65,000 baht each.

At least two busloads of Rohingya are claimed to have have been shipped out from Ranong, with more likely to be processed as traffickers on-sell the captives.

Two more busloads of Rohingya were reported by well-informed contacts to be on the way to Ranong from other parts of Thailand - Nong Khai province and the Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai - on Monday.

Such a covert sale and movement of the Rohingya would be in direct conflict with Thailand's stated aims of suppressing human trafficking in advance of the release of a new US 'Trafficking in Persons Report.'

If allegations of the involvement of Thai officials in people-smuggling were proven, Thailand would be exposed to an adverse reaction from the US and other trading partners who are committed to wiping out human trafficking.

Reporters from Phuketwan were unable to confirm with absolute certainty at the weekend that some of the Rohingya being held in Thailand are being trafficked by officials.

But we have seen clearcut evidence of the suspicious movement of Rohingya and heard from several reliable sources that traffickers and Thai officials have been trading in people.

About 1700 Rohingya are believed to remain in police cells and detention centres throughout Thailand, either ''rescued'' from traffickers' camps or plucked from boats, mostly in January.

With the exodus by sea of unwanted Rohingya from Burma (Myanmar) likely to grow as the safe ''sailing season'' begins, a check on the whereabouts of the Rohingya would prove or disprove the allegations of official involvement.

At the weekend, Phuketwan reporters were told that a number of Rohingya were being taken by bus from Sadao Immigration detention centre, in Thailand's south, about 500 kilometres north to Ranong.

The reporters were given the registration numbers of the bus and were able to confirm the arrival of the bus at Ranong Immigration detention centre at 2am on Saturday.

About 50 Rohingya men and women were on board the bus, sources said. It's understood that the passengers were fingerprinted and had their photographs taken in readiness for ''deportation.''

At 2.40pm on Saturday, as sources had predicted, a Ranong Immigration truck left the centre and arrived at the Andaman Club pier, about 12 kilometres away, one of many piers along the nearby coast.

The people in the truck were later transferred by small local long-tail vessels to a ship waiting offshore, sources said.

Another bus from Immigration in Mae Sot, Trak province, carrying 39 Rohingya, was due to arrive at Ranong Immigration on Saturday evening.

One Phuket-based source said he was contacted on Sunday afternoon by a people-broker from Malaysia who offered him his two nephews for sale at 65,000 baht each.

The process followed for years in transferring boatpeople from Burma via Thailand to Malaysia has always involved human traffickers who act as go-betweens and pay off officials along the way.

However, while brokers in Thailand still ask just 7000 baht per smuggled person, the price being asked by Malaysian traffickers has grown to between 40,000 and 65,000 baht.

''If Immigration sells the people to us at 10,000 baht each, we can afford to pay that,'' the source told Phuketwan.

''But with the officials selling the Rohingya to the Malaysian brokers at 10,000 baht each, the relatives of these people cannot afford to buy back their families at big prices.''

Rohingya who are not bought by their relatives are beaten and forced to make tormented telephone calls, pleading for the money to be paid.

If abuse fails to work, the Rohingya are sometimes onsold to trawler captains to work as virtual slaves in the fishing fleets off the coast of Malaysia or Thailand.

A Thai broker recently told Phuketwan that the nature of trafficking and enslavement is growing worse, with the captains of Indonesian vessels now offering to buy Rohingya.

''At least one Indonesian captain was offering to buy 20 workers,'' the broker said.

With boatloads of Rohingya arriving again off Thailand's coast, two new large trafficking camps have been set up in Narathiwat and Satun, according to the broker.

Thailand's Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, has appointed deputy PM Phongthep Thepkanchana as chairman of the government team responsible for preparing reports on the country's human trafficking response.

People brokers and sources who have been offered Rohingya confirm the involvement of Thai officials in the dealing that took place at the weekend.

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So sickening to read about the ongoing suffering of those poor people. Authorities are almost always deeply involved in this slavery and as a matter of fact in most illegal activities in Thailand.
This is also one reason why we cannot solve our problems in Thailand as the people who suppose to solve the problems are actually the true problem!

Posted by Mr. K on October 21, 2013 09:56

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Excellent investigation as always, Phuketwan. Hopefully this story will be 'shouted from the rooftops' by the world media, - and then perhaps an active response.

Posted by Treelover on October 21, 2013 11:27

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This is a terrible situation and glad you're there PhuketWan to inform us and please keep on the story with updates!

And so true Mr. K in your comments, but the start of a correction to any social problem is to get the news (thanks again PW), out to the general population and their action for actually doing something.

So spread the word, hope the Thai press picks up this story, and get others to do something about the injustice to the Rohingya in Thailand!

Posted by Brad Kenny on October 21, 2013 11:59

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Its interesting how something like this makes it to the news and still doesnt get sorted out.

Hang on, let me call Rihanna to buy a few of them......

THEN, we may resolve it!

Actually lets get Rihanna in on everything going on here.....

Posted by Jaded on October 22, 2013 01:20

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Rohingyas detainees tragedies here are unbearable for us.We are failure but Thien Sein government and Aye Maung are success!

Rohingya detainees are widely sold at the rate of above 2000 US Dollars at Thai -Burma and Thai -Malay borders everyday. Among them one Mohmed Alam ,Bsc ,Chemistry (Hons) vill:Maung Nama, Maung Daw is also included. Rohingyas hue and cry is unbearable for us here. Many telephone calls from different countries including Arakan is all the time coming in and asking heart bleeding things. Most of the callers cry during conversation. We can't give them any satisfactory answer.
Many boat loads Rohingyas are reaching here and fall at the trap of traffickers. A handful greedy Rohingya organized the trafficking groups.

Posted by Maung Kyaw Nu,President,Burmese Rohingya Association in Thailand (BRAT) on October 24, 2013 00:46

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Man's inhumanity to man
Makes countless thousands mourn.
Robert Burns - 1784

It seems to me we haven't advanced very much in 230 years, not regarding issues like this anyway.

Posted by Sudo Nim on October 24, 2013 11:57

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Whereas kudos is due and no doubt deserved for reporting this sort of news, unfortunately most media is constantly full of stories of ethnic, religious or gender abuse.
Sadly there is no solution and if there was most administrations are too apathetic. These issues are probably viewed as a merely an embarrassing inconvenience.
In Thailand it is ironic that the administration pays more attention to truck loads of feral dogs due for the pot.

Posted by david on October 25, 2013 12:44

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Rohingya detainees are again sold to Human traffickers !Big Sale ! Every Rohingya detainee is sold at the rate of 2000+ USD!

Thailand Human Rights violation and Human trafficking issue is leading towards the worst of the worst stage in the world due to some greedy monsters .Genocide escapees Rohingyas are sold after sold @2000 to 2500 US Dollars in the borders. We have evidences that a few greedy officials ,some greedy Thai Muslim and a handful Rohingyas are trafficking Rohingyas along side the borders.This monsters combination group is very strong and have good contact with higher level officials.It should be urgently investigated and all trafficking related parties must be booked for trail. This monsters tarnish the image of Thailand in the world. In the main times we ,the Rohingyas become victims after victims at the hands of traffickers.Many victims' news are unheard and we are sure that they were sold to fishing trawlers of Malysia,Indonesia and Thailand. How the Thai civil societies and world communities keep silence about this fearful human tragedies.

STOP TRAFFICKING AND SAVE THE ROHINGYAS!

Maung Kyaw Nu,
President ,
Burmese Rohingya Association in Thailand (B.R.A.T)

Posted by Maung Kyaw Nu,President,Burmese Rohingya Association in Thailand (BRAT) on October 25, 2013 15:27

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These stories depress me so very much As we look around this planet it is difficult to find something that you can't buy whether it be principles or people.

If anybody ever watched the film "Soylent Green", it is difficult to believe that this is not where we are heading. I am 61, and often feel sad that I have no children, and then I read this, and wonder how long it will be before we are eating each other.

I realise I must sound like a crazy who is posting on the wrong thread, but I am fed up of seeing these stories where someone decides that instead of fixing the problem, they should make money from the problem.

Posted by SpurredoninDublin on October 31, 2013 19:00

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Certainly puts our complaints of overpriced and parking space hogging tuktuks in perspective.

Posted by NomadJoe on November 2, 2013 22:49


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