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Former Senior Sergeant Veerayut Ferngfull: sacking his sole punishment

Crooked Policeman Sacked as Officials Acknowledge His Link to Accused Trafficker

Saturday, July 13, 2013
PHUKET: An officer has been dismissed from Thailand's police force for his part in the abduction of five Rohingya as seven more boatpeople have vanished from a family shelter north of Phuket.

Senior Sergeant Veerayut Ferngfull is no longer a member of the Royal Thai Police, the Commander of Police in Phang Nga Province, Major General Chalit Kaewyarat, confirmed in a short telephone conversation this week.

It's believed that Senior Sergeant Veerayut transferred from the Marine Police to the regular land-based force to head up a new Phang Nga police task force assigned to intercept boatpeople.

The police in Phang Nga operate a patrol boat in the same way as the Royal Thai Navy and Marine Police along the Andaman coast, where thousands of Rohingya have been captured and trafficked in the past few years.

The senior sergeant's dismissal - his only punishment - is believed to be the first formal admission by authorities of a connection between renegade officers in uniform and people traffickers on the Andaman coast between Phuket and Ranong, a port on the border with Burma.

Thousands of Rohingya who landed in Thailand or were apprehended at sea are believed to have been on-sold to complete their journey from trouble-torn Rakhine state in Burma, where ethnic cleansing is rife, to Malaysia, where as Muslims they hope to find sanctuary.

In January, for reasons that have yet to be made public, officials in Thailand interrupted the people-smuggling trade by raiding secret trafficers' camps and intercepting Rohingya boats.

As a result, about 2000 Rohingya have been detained in Thailand with a self-imposed six-month deadline for the Thai Government to find them a destination and determine their status and their futures.

Thailand is reluctant to declare the Rohingya as refugees for fear it could spark a huge influx of unwanted boatpeople.

But because Thailand declines to accept the alternative - to insist that Burma stops persecuting the Rohingya - many more are expected to take to the sea and land in Thailand next ''sailing season,'' from October onwards.

Although no new boats are arriving at this time of the year, the presence of Rohingya women and children in shelters in Thailand has allowed opportunist local traffickers to continue to operate.

Senior Sergeant Veerayut was sacked for driving a getaway vehicle that gave three women and two children the chance to abscond from a family shelter, only to be abducted.

The women left the shelter voluntarily in expectation that they would be reunited with their menfolk in Malaysia once cash changed hands. But they found themselves kidnapped.

One man in the getaway vehicle with Senior Sergeant Veerayut is alleged to have raped one of the women at knifepoint, then repeatedly over several days.

Investigators are continuing to compile evidence against Korlimula Ramahatu, 26, an illegal migrant who is believed to have been just one of several traffickers who live in the Andaman coast region.

Meanwhile, most of the Rohingya being held in Thailand continue to aspire to join friends or families in Malaysia as soon as they can.

Despite the earlier abduction and rape, another group comprising three women and four children went over the wall from the same shelter in the holiday town of Khao Lak on Thursday night.

The shelter's staff, who have been doing all they can to provide help and welfare, were not able to prevent the escape, which follows a large-scale defection from the family refuge on Phuket.

Rohingya men, kept in cramped conditions behind bars in Immigration centres scattered across Thailand, are less able to flee when they please.

Recent reports list five deaths because of disease and poor conditions at the detention centre in Sadao, Songkhla.

But in Phang Nga's Immigration centre, where secret television footage earlier this year showed appalling cramped conditions, up to 20 people among the 260 inmates are now being allowed one hours' exercise at a time.

Ramandan began this week and with a month of fasting obligatory for Muslims between dawn and sundown, the likelihood of more deaths in custody grows stronger.

The new Minister for Social Development and Human Security, Paveena Hongsakul, called officials to Bangkok for meetings late this week. The talks were aimed at resolving how the captive Rohingya should be treated.

With a background in human rights and welfare, the new minister is reckoned to give the boatpeole being held in Thailand their best hope of a solution that does not involve being returned to Burma.

However, there are still elements within Thailand's military who are believed to want the Rohingya held as long as possible in poor conditions in Thailand as a deterrent to others.

The six-month deadline for a decision on Thailand's course of action is two weeks away.

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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The only punishment to human trafficking is to lose your job?

Hardly a deterrence, is it?

Posted by sir burr on July 13, 2013 16:14

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Did anyone have the gonads to ask if there are any charges pending, this would be a positive move for Thailand and the police in general. It would also show that the media is in fact pushing for change and not only giving lip service, but the to push is to invite an "aggressive" response, some thing some believe should only be undertaken by commenters.

Posted by Phuket_IOC on July 14, 2013 08:43

Editor Comment:

As a commenter who confuses reproductive organs with courage, you have quite a way to go in gaining an understanding about life, let alone Thai culture. We don't take instructions from anyone, readers included. One of our aims has been to broaden understanding about this and other issues among people who can read English. But clearly, a lot still goes over your head.

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Ed, you need new glasses, I didn't GIVE any instructions, I simply ASKED a question and it WASN'T necessarily aimed at YOU or PW. Ed, do I need to remind you, you are NOT Thai, but from your comment, maybe you do lack the necessary "gonads" to ask the questions. By making your first comment about sexual organs, it clearly shows your readers how much of a fool you are.

Posted by Phuket_IOC on July 14, 2013 11:21

Editor Comment:

Here you are again, Phuket_IOC, playing the Phuketwan buffoon. Why not, just for once, get on with it and add something to an issue? I am tired of you wasting readers' time and mine. Your initial comment was barely intelligible and your abrasive style achieves nothing.

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Since the police officer played a key role (a house belonging to his relatives was used to house the women and he drove the car used to transport them) in the alleged rape and the rapist is being charged, naturally one wonders if any charges are pressed against the officer.

If not, it would be interesting to know why not.

Posted by ThaiMike on July 14, 2013 15:32

Editor Comment:

Explanations from senior police in Phang Nga are not expected anytime soon.

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Jeez, how much of a bitter exchange for a simple question "Ed, could have been interesting to ask if there are any charges pending" ... but we know the answer already anyway

Posted by Paul on July 14, 2013 15:33

Editor Comment:

For someone who was just saying ''by the way, hat off to PW for the dramatic graphic images displayed'' your judgements are fickle and in this case, flawed. We do not take kindly to people telling us how to do our jobs. Phuket_IOC knows this yet persists in being a serial pest. Nothing ''bitter'' about it.

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@ThaiMike. Years ago, I remember a Royal Thai Police Colonel being dismissed cause he pocketed millions and millions of baht through the tsunami victim funds he was in charge. No charge was pressed because it was told that a dismissal from the force is considered very serious by thai society. I guess that by now this guy leads a jet-set lifestyle with all that money he pocketed. People in my country sent millions of euros by sms for the 2004 tsunami and since this story came up, I told them not to do so anymore. Do not give any money through government channels.
By the way Ed, my previous post is intended for the 2 of you and has the same basic meaning of ThaiMike's post. Fickle and flawed is just your immagination of being God so nobody has to give a judgement which seems to put you in a bad light. Whatever I wrote before for a different topic, has nothing to do with this one. No wonder you get more and more posts of people pissed off with your attitude.

Posted by paul on July 14, 2013 16:27

Editor Comment:

People ''pissed off with my attitude'' have a choice, fickle and flawed paul, they can put up with it or go elsewhere. If you're not familiar with Phuket_IOC and his inclination to dissemble or deliberately provoke a reaction, why make a comment at all? I am definitely not God, not even in my imagination. (Your own imagination seems to be too vivid, perhaps.) But i do like to get readers' facts straight. Is it really possible to send ''millions of euros by sms?'' That's a new one on me.

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Ed, you seem to mention Phuket_IOC often, I am guessing he is a pain in your side. I actually can not see anything wrong with his initial comment, I understood it completely. Other of his posts also make a lot of sense, but you seem incapable of adequately responding to e.g. call centres, instead you go on the attack with counting his points. This, to your readers, indicates that maybe you a. dare I say it, wrong. It does seem as though you have put yourself, and PW, on an unstable pedestal. Perhaps some of your readers actually do have information/knowledge that you do not. It really would make better reading if you accepted and acknowledged that you do not know all.

Posted by lonewolf on July 14, 2013 17:28

Editor Comment:

There are readers who have knowledge about topics and add substance, often more than once. But Phuket_IOC is a provocateur, a reader who goes from talking sense occasionally to telling everyone what to do. I won't bore you with replays, but let's just say that Phuket_IOC is not a voice of moderation or logical thought at all times. And if anybody criticises us, we assume we have the right to respond. We intend to continue to do so. You may think we have somehow ''put PW on an unstable pedestal'' but you would be unwise to confuse the journalism, lonewolf, with the sometimes sensible, sometimes senseless banter between us and commenters like Phuket_IOC and yourself.
By the way, I accept and acknowledge that I ''do not know all.'' I never have, and i never will. But I can tell right from wrong and I do know which way is up. As this is your first post, I presume you will actually have something to add about the topic next time, or move on.


Wednesday December 13, 2017
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