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A police patrol vessel among piers and mangroves near Kuraburi. Naval forces are maintained by many organisations along the coast

Rohingya Boatpeople Held in Pickups North of Phuket: Police Probe Human Trafficking Ring

Saturday, September 13, 2014
PHUKET: Police have arrested three Thais and apprehended 32 Rohingya boatpeople at a checkpoint north of Phuket with officers now investigating a human trafficking ring.

The Superintendent of Kuaraburi Police Station, Colonel Veerasin Khwanseng, said today that all the people being held were in two pickups stopped about 11am yesterday at a checkpoint on the main road south from the Andaman coast fishing port.

One of the pickups carried a Royal Thai Police Region One windscreen sticker, he said. Five more pickups, reported to also be heading for jungle camps in southern Thailand, eluded police.

It is believed that the Rohingya who were apprehended yesterday came off two boats that are thought to have landed on the coast of Thailand several days ago.

The maze of mangrove-enclosed islands along the coast off Ranong and Phang Nga provinces makes hiding a large number of people without detection relatively easy.

The two pickups - one carrying Phuket numberplates - were pulled over as they headed south towards the holiday island.

Held on suspicion of trafficking in the first vehicle were Kanong Oakdee, 49, and Jerapa Paramee, 32. Driving the second vehicle, which bore a police windscreen sticker, was Panmani Nunin, 39.

It is believed their destination was further south in Songhla or Satun provinces, where human traffickers are known to maintain holding camps in plantations and jungle for Rohingya and Bangladeshi boatpeople.

Traffickers usually demand 60,000 baht to smuggle each person into Malaysia and beat those who fail to succeed in imploring relatives or friends to pay the ransom.

The first pickup pulled over yesterday contained a man and a woman in the cabin with eight Rohingya, and five more boatpeople in the pickup tray. In the second vehicle were a driver and 19 Rohingya.

The Rohingya are being held at Kuraburi Police Station and will probably be handed over to Immigration authorities today. Questioning of the Thai suspects will go on.

According to sources, the flow of Rohingya escaping violence and state-sanctioned ethnic cleansing in Burma's Rakhine state continues and is likely to increase as the monsoons end and the safer ''sailing season'' commences in October.

It's considered improbable that large numbers of boatpeople could be travelling by sea then through southern Thailand without the knowledge or active assistance of outlaws in uniform.

On December 26 last year, Phuketwan journalists interviewed Rohingya and Bangladeshis among a boatload of men, women and children apprehended near Kuraburi the previous day. Some of the men bore scars from recent beatings.

The boatpeople claimed they were handed over to human traffickers by the Burmese Navy. The traffickers killed 12 people and abused others, the survivors said.

Declaration of Interest: In July next year, Phuketwan journalists Alan Morison and Chutima Sidasathian face trial over criminal defamation and Computer Crimes Act charges brought by the Royal Thai Navy, citing a 41-word paragraph from a Pulitzer prize-winning Reuters report on the Rohingya boatpeople. Reuters and other news organisations in Thailand that published the same paragraph have not been charged. The charges were laid before the military takeover in Thailand.

Comments

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We can have a helicopter to take aerial photos of Phuket looking for the dreaded land encroachment, but is there not a helicopter for police to chase criminals who put peoples lives at risk.

Posted by Tbs on September 13, 2014 09:30

Editor Comment:

Police VIPs have certainly arrived by helicopter on Phuket and once Region 8 HQ shifts to the island, so will all the extras.

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Alan and Chutima deserve concrete support for publishing this story - for having the proverbial "stones" to put the news out there in the present "toxic" environment in which they find themselves in. Just goes to show that Phuketwan should not be closed down for transparency's sake in 2015.

Publishing this should TKO the minority of naysayers and critics of the editor, as he and Chutima battle on - going where few (including me probably) would be willing to go - putting it all on the line for societal good - not for personal gain, or their own good.

The good the editor and his assistant have already done far outweigh minor squabbles on the board with his critics - that is the one constant in the whole messy, unbalanced, ongoing affair.

Posted by farang888 on September 13, 2014 09:54

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(moderated)

Posted by Laurie Howells on September 13, 2014 10:25

Editor Comment:

Please troll elsewhere, Laurie. Goodbye (again).

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(moderated)

Posted by Laurie Howells on September 13, 2014 11:42

Editor Comment:

You must have missed this message, Laurie. Please take note. You fit several categories. For that reason, your chances of being published here again are slim.

PHUKETWAN hereby alters its policy on the posting of Comments and bans whingers, whiners, do-nothings, dingbats, doomsayers, carpers, harpers and kooks. This list may grow with time. Constructive ideas and new pieces of information remain welcome.

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Re: Laurie Howells:
Why give space to someone with an intellectual disability?

Posted by Pete on September 13, 2014 12:00

Editor Comment:

Not true, he just keeps falling over his artificially inflated ego. Anyone who calls the editor a coward and a sociopath (actually he says he called me a megalomaniac) and still expects to be published has reality issues.

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And pissants?

Posted by Manowar on September 13, 2014 12:06

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Keep up the good work, Ed.

Nil illigitimi carborundum.

Posted by Smithy on September 13, 2014 12:39

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Due to various types of genocidal discrimination against the Rohingyas in their ancestral land and depriving basic daily necessities including food and health care ,some of them choice rickety boat voyage for Thailand ,Malaysia ,Indonesia and Australia. After arriving the first destination in Thailand ,the vulnerable Rohingyas usually fall at the hands of organized traffickers . After arriving here the victims are beaten ,rapped and ask ransom money by the traffickers . The traffickers can be easily traced out and the helpless Rohingya can be properly treated if the concerned authorities of Thailand come forwards . The traffickers are a big gang consist of locals , a handful Rohingyas ,Bangalis and Malaysians etc .On the other hands the arrested Rohingyas should be kept out of touch from these people specially Rohingyas from Thailand who approach to the authorities in the name of help and interpreters. After reaching Rohingyas in Thailand the said traffickers and local Rohingya helpers sell them as auction goods. Some die and get paralyzed. The Rohingyas selling is more profitable than drugs business.Every Rohingya is @ 2000 USD up . This is going on silently on daily basis. Still thousands of Rohingyas including women and children are languishing at the hands of traffickers and fake Rohingya social workers. We are very much thanks to Phuketwan for continue high lights the miserable lives of Rohingyas . We do hope that the Honorable Prime Minister Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha's administration can stop this ugly trafficking gangs and save the Rohingya Refugees from concentration camps. The UNHCR ,IOM and IRC can also play a vital rule side by side by NCPO .
It is also R2P responsible to protect these unarmed Rohingyas from genocidishts by international actors.

Posted by Maung Kyaw Nu,President of Burmese Rohingya Association in Thailand (BRAT) on September 14, 2014 18:17


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