The three Rohingya men, captured as they were about to board a bus in the province of Chumpon, told authorities that many small groups of between three and five Rohingya had already been secreted on buses south to Malaysia at 10,000 baht a head.
Authorities found hiding places in the jungle and rubber plantations, enough to indicate there was a trade in people of some scale being undertaken.
Being hidden on scheduled buses appears to be the first new trick for traffickers who will be aiming to process as many Rohingya as possible through Thailand. The sailing season begins in October, and with tranquil seas each year come more boatpeople fleeing persecution in Burma (Myanmar.)
Observers and police investigators know that the traffickers are not planning to abandon their lucrative trade, even though national police concluded an investigation yesterday with the Bangkok Post headline reporting: 'Rohingya trafficking solved.'
The headline could just as easily have read: 'Fairy tales proven to all be true.'
In reality, the budget for the five-month investigation has been used up so the large team of detectives is to be disbanded.
A total of 699 files containing 271,300 pages of evidence are being passed to public prosecutors. About 0ne billion baht in assets have been seized.
Oddly enough, the vast majority of the 232 human trafficking suspects detected are civilians. A consistent allegation made by many trafficking victims is that people in uniform have often been involved.
Yet only a few of the warrants have been for officers.
One way of clarifying innocence, Phuketwan suggested recently, is for all senior officers posted in areas where trafficking is known to have taken place over the past five years to open their bank accounts to scrutiny so Thailand's good reputation can more quickly be restored.
If serious investigations cannot be continued, then a voluntary declaration by honest officers would save the majority from falling under suspicion.
Until the government of Burma ceases its persecution of the Muslim Rohingya and accepts that religious tolerance is one hallmark of real democracies, the flow of persecuted boatpeople through Thailand will continue.
All the fine talk of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha at the United Nations will prove to be mere rhetoric unless Thailand treats human trafficking as a continuing priority.
A conclusion can only come when the boats of the tormented families stop sailing.