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Paween Pongsirin when he managed to subdue the taxi ''mafia'' on Phuket

Pursue Guilty Trafffickers Not Honest Cop, Says Media in Thailand

Monday, December 14, 2015
BANGKOK: In a country where ruling generals deal harshly with critics, Thailand's media have bravely condemned threats to sue a top policeman who has claimed in Melbourne that "influential people" are implicated in human trafficking, and want to kill him.

The Bangkok Post called for the claims by former major-general Paween Pongsirin to be investigated seriously and for him to be allowed to return safely to Thailand.

The newspaper said instead of threatening to sue Mr Paween for defamation Thai authorities should be making it a priority to crack down on human trafficking networks to "restore confidence in the much maligned law-enforcement institution and repair the damage the illegal trade has done to the nation's standing."

How Thai authorities handle Mr Paween's allegations will be a key test for the junta that toppled a democratically-elected government last year to "exercise its power and nail the influential figures who are part of the trafficking and smuggling rings," the newspaper said in an editorial.

Another newspaper, The Nation, described threats to sue Mr Paween by Thailand's National police chief Jakthip Chaijinda for defamation as a "knee jerk" reaction, saying that accusations by a senior police officer that fellow officers want him dead for exposing their corruption is a "very serious matter."

Similar comments were made in Thai language media.

The junta often seizes critics, including journalists, and takes them to military bases where they are held for so-called "attitude readjustment."

Critics are warned that if they continue opposing the generals their private assets will be seized.

The claims by Mr Paween, who plans to seek political asylum in Australia, have shattered the junta's claims that it has thwarted trafficking across its borders.

Mr Paween headed a high-profile task force created earlier this year after the discovery of mass graves in the mountains of southern Thailand.

For years Thai authorities had denied any involvement of corrupt officials in the trafficking of thousands of Rohingyas and Bangladeshis who took to boats across the Bay of Bengal to try to reach Malaysia.

Images of mass graves in the mountains of southern Thailand and starving and distressed families on boats shocked the world.

Mr Paween's taskforce exposed networks of traffickers and led to the arrest of more than 90 of people including politicians, government officials, police and a high-raking army officer.

But Mr Paween was forced to wind down his investigations in September and he was abruptly transferred to Thailand's southernmost provinces, where Muslim rebels have been waging a decade-long insurgency.

He protested that he would be killed by traffickers and senior police involved in the trade there, and quit the force rather than take up his new post.

"Human trafficking is a big network that involves lots of military, politicians and police," Mr Paween said after arriving in Melbourne.

"While I was supervising those cases I was warned all along," he said.

Comments

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Stay in Australia man, if the Army or Police want to speak whit you use Skype ++++

Posted by Bjorn Ronningen on December 14, 2015 10:56

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Agree with Bjorn

Posted by sky on December 14, 2015 12:03

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IMO he needs to name the people and all he knows and deposit the evidence somewhere safe, The authorities will not be able to block every news site and social media for sure will spread all the news.
I like the military goverment for the actions they have been taking, but they are a bit like the Ostrich for there attitude towards the media

Posted by Michael on December 14, 2015 12:19

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Major General, sit down and put everything you know into a ledger or on a disc. Give it to a trusted news source.
Then expose anything, names places and times,everything.
If the worst comes to the worst, then your investigations and your life would have had a major impact in changing the way the world responds to Thailand and it will bring change for the better.
Good fortune to you Sir for doing the dangerous work that you did.
Have a safe festive season.

Posted by Robin on December 14, 2015 13:28

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He was no lightweight of a police officer. Getting him unnerved that much means a lot.

He was born here, and he loves his country, he served his country and was chosen to lead this incredible difficult investigation by his merits. The trafficking investigation was crucial for Thailand and it's standing with its partners. So he has to be chosen with that in mind by his bosses.

So character assassination will reflect poorly. They chose one if not the best.

Posted by Lena on December 14, 2015 17:58


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