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Police Lieutenant Colonel Nattarit Pinpak: 'major trafficker' nabbed

Immigration Nabs 'Phuket-Trail People Smuggler'

Wednesday, May 27, 2009
People Smuggling Arrest: Photo Album Above

IMMIGRATION officers in the Thai border town of Ranong swooped today to arrest a man they said was about to traffick 34 illegal Burmese to Phuket this afternoon.

In the man's possession, officers say they found a notebook containing the names of police checkpoint officers who must now answer allegations they are involved in the human trafficking trade.

The Burmese, men and women, were about to to be squeezed into two pickups, with camouflage loads on top. The accused has been named as Kongsak Aduldechakul.

Ranong Immigration's Chief Inspector, Police Lieutenant Colonel Nattarit Pinpak, told Phuketwan: ''This man is a major people-trafficker and he was caught in the act this afternoon.

''Inside the house at the address raided by officers, we found 10 bank account books and a notebook listing the names of police who were likely to be at checkpoints on the road to Phuket.''

He said the notebook would be passed on to the Department of Special Investigations.

The DSI has been ordered to track down the people-traffickers involved in trading Rohingya boat people and other migrants who come south to Thailand seeking a better life.

Greater attention has been focussed on people-smuggling since 54 illegals suffocated in a refrigerated truck on the road to Phuket in April last year.

Another deadly twist was added in January with the revelation by Phuketwan reporters that the Thai military was gathering up and holding illegal boat people in secret on a remote island.

The South China Morning Post newspaper exposed the practice of boat people being pushed back out to sea with little food or water, resulting in the deaths of hundreds.

In an interview with Phuketwan yesterday, Police Lieutenant Colonel Nattarit said the numbers of Burmese seeking to work in Thailand was continuing to rise.

A total of 78 Rohingya men have been held in the detention centre at Ranong since January, the first group to be arrested after the army was ordered to cease its disturbing push-back process.

Lieutenant Colonel Nattarit said the men were ''happy'' and being well looked after, and preferred to be in detention rather than back in Burma.

But he added that several of them spoke Thai, indicating that this was not their first attempt to start a new life in Malaysia or Thailand.

''Ranong province is like a door for Burmese as they move in and out, looking for work,'' Lieutenant Colonel Nattarit said.

Many of the Burmese and Rohingya, who are denied citizenship, prefer to try and try again rather than live in hopelessness in northern Burma or Bangladesh, non-government organisations report.

''There is demand for Burmese labor, especially in the fishing trade and processing factories in Ranong,'' he said.

Workers generally find their feet first in the border town, then having gained a smattering of Thai, pay to be smuggled south.

The so-called Ranong Model for accepting limited numbers of illegal Burmese and giving them ID cards is now under consideration for Phuket and Phang Nga.

Large numbers of illegal Burmese already provide essential labor for Phuket's economy.

Ranong has an integrated population of Thais and Burmese, with signs in supermarkets in three languages and a a covert system of 12 schools where Burmese children are educated to a surprisingly high standard.

The fate of the Rohingya boat people, the lieutenant colonel said, now rests with senior government officials in Bangkok.

He added that two traffickers had been jailed over the suffocation of the Burmese last year, with four more awaiting trial. The hunt was continuing for two others, he said.

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Comments

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I am very pleased to read a good positive story. . I pray all the accused people use the " F *** " word and get an extra ten years for using bad language. People trafficking is a very serious crime, worse than drugs and a big problem for Phuket. Well done arresting Officers, well done. Yeee Haaa .

Posted by Mouse on May 27, 2009 20:31

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To both law enforcement and to the reporters: Bravo!

Posted by D on May 27, 2009 22:18


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