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Distinctive blue Rohingya boat found by reporters in a Ranong village

Phuket Fake IDs Arrest, Rohingya Link to Terror

Wednesday, June 17, 2009
A PHUKET man has been arrested and charged with faking IDs for Burmese workers in what appears to be a timely crackdown on people-smuggling and illegals in Thailand.

In a separate case, three Rohingya have been arrested and accused of involvement with the September 11 2001 terrorist attack on the US, and arms deals with rebels in Sri Lanka.

The Thai Army has always claimed that one of the reason for their sponsorship of the deathly ''pushbacks'' of boat people arriving on the Andaman coast was based on security concerns about the Rohingya.

But Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said today there was no allegation that the arrested Rohingya were connected to unrest in Thailand's Deep South.

News of the two sets of otherwise unrelated arrests comes with the release by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington of a 300-plus page report on human trafficking.

Mrs Clinton is due to visit Thailand and Phuket next month for the Asia Regional Forum, at which people smuggling, especially along the coasts of Burma, Thailand and Malaysia, is likely to be an issue.

On Monday on Phuket, Immigration officers raided the home of a Phuket man near Chalong circle and confiscated a computer and a scanner they said he was using to fake IDs for illegal Burmese workers.

An Immigration officer told Phuketwan that the copied IDs were being sold for 6000 baht each.

The man, named as Weerayut Kaprasit, has since been granted bail of 80,000 baht and will appear in court to answer the charge at a date to be fixed.

In another people-smuggling development, three Rohingya identified as Mahammad Ali Hussien, Babuji or Mahammad Madbahem, and Chubri Awae are being held after a joint operation by the Department of Special Investigation, armed forces and Immigration police.

Police Colonel Tawee Sodsong, the DSI director-general, said Hussein was based in the southern border city of Haad Yai before moving to Bangkok.

He was arrested on Monday at his Thai wife's house in Chaiyaphum's Kaset Sombun district after sneaking into the country early this month.

Colonel Thawee also said that based on evidence gathered from their mobile phones, the three were also believed to be involved in weapons smuggling and drug trafficking in the restive south.

Hussien may have even provided counterfeit documents for members of the Al-qaeda group to conduct the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US, he said.

Hussien fled into Malaysia where he was arrested and jailed for two years on charges of being detrimental to security.

After release, he came to Thailand and established contacts with weapon and drug traders as well as insurgents in the South, Colonel Tawee said.

He acted as a weapons broker whose clients included the Tamil Tigers and human traffickers, and allegedly supplied fake passports.

In January, the Thai army was accused of sponsoring the push-backs of Rohingya boat people from the Andaman coast into the sea, with little food or water. Hundreds died as a result of that policy.

Most of the Rohingya came by boat to Ranong, Phang Nga or Phuket, hoping for work in the fishing industry and plantations in Thailand or factories in Malaysia.

Thousands of Burmese workers, both legal and illegal, underpin Phuket's economy by performing tasks at low cost that Thais prefer not to do, especially in construction.

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Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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Well no suprises here. So the attitude is that all the Rohingya are bad?

I'm happy that Phuketwan has mentioned that the Burmese 'Underpin the Thai Economy' which is very true. Most Thais don't like to work in the sun or get their hands dirty, they feel it's beneath them.

So come on, how about give credit where it's due and how about recognising the Burmese as VALUED members of society. The Human Rights issues in Thailand is appalling. Open your eyes, we're all human.

Posted by Noddy on June 17, 2009 16:02

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well said noddy ! one only has to see the trucks full of worn out burmese workers returning home late each day, they are very much needed in thailand, and very badly treated !

Posted by elizabeth on June 18, 2009 17:04


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