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Policeman Veerayut Ferngfull is likely to face arrest in abduction case

Rohingya Rape, Abduction Case: Police Pledge to Issue Arrest Warrants

Thursday, June 27, 2013
PHUKET: A senior superintendent pledged today to issue arrest warrants for a police officer and an alleged people trafficker over the abduction of five Rohingya women and children and the rape of one of them.

Its the first time Thai authorities have acknowledged the possible involvement of police and military in the human trafficking of thousands of boatpeople along the Andaman Sea coast, north of Phuket.

Colonel Veerasin Khawseng, Superintendent of Kuraburi Police Station, in the heart of Thailand's people-smuggling zone, said today that the arrest warrants would be issued as soon as possible.

The officer has been named as Veerayut Ferngfull.

Colonel Veerasin intervened today after several days in which the Rohingya women and staff at the family refuge where they are being housed were given the run-around by local police.

Officers at the Khao Lak Police Station, where the accused officer works, refused to provide the original depositions by the women to enable police in Kuraburi to pursue the case.

Having already returned once to several places where the five Rohingya were taken and the remote island where the rape allegedly occurred, the group will now have to undertake the journey again with other officers.

The allegations of rape and abduction have triggered interest from media in the province of Phang Nga, north of Phuket, where thousands of the Rohingya boatpeople have landed on their way to Malaysia.

Accusations have been made that local police, military and residents have been involved in bartering Rohingya to brokers who usually charge each boatperson about 50,000 baht to journey south to cross the Malaysian border.

Three Rohingya women and two children have told police that they went over the wall at the Phang Nga family refuge centre in Khao Lak on May 26 in the belief that their trip to Malaysia was about to begin.

The women only realised the driver of their vehicle was a policeman when they went to Khao Lak Police Station to report the crimes and saw him in uniform there.

One of the homes at which the group was held in the days that followed was a house occupied by a relative of the policeman.

At one stage, the group were taken to remote Yeepon (Japan) island, where it is alleged one of the women was raped three times by alleged Rohingya trafficker Korlimula Ramahatu, 26.

Ramahatu is at present in a prison in Phang Nga serving time for being in Thailand illegally. It is believed he knows a lot more about the human trafficking network in the region.

Death threats were made earlier this week by a Thai man who arrived unannounced at the family centre. The female director has been issued with a handgun and security cameras now record visitors.

Thai authorities put a stop to most human trafficking in January when they raided several border smuggling camps and apprehended several boatloads of Rohingya, rather than intercepting them at sea and helping them on towards Malaysia.

More than 2000 boatpeople are being held in Immigration detention centres and family refuges but numbers have dwindled as women and children have staged escapes.

A third person allegedly involved in the abduction of the women and children in Phang Nga, a white-haired man who speaks Bengali, is reported to have fled the district after repaying a large ''deposit'' to women at the family centre.

Comments

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There's nothing more rewarding and noble one can do to a fellow human being than to help them get justice.

I know it's still a long and rocky road to conviction but kudos to PW for doing just that.

These people who use their trusted positions of power are the lowest of any society. The very people who are supposed to protect us turn to predators.

The recent Filipino case in which embassy officials forced distressed Filipino women looking to be repatriated to sex and prostitution in exchange for a ticket back home is a prime example of this.

Because of a few brave individuals who had the courage to press charges against those who thought they are untouchable, the whole Pandora's box is opening up.

I hope the same unfolding of the inconvenient truth gains equal momentum in Thailand.

Philippine government has opened phone and email hotlines for possible victims to report such abuse.

I'd like to see the Thai government do the same for victims of human trafficking and other atrocities.

Posted by ThaiMike on June 27, 2013 11:59

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Lately it has often been mentioned in the press that police, military and local residents are involved in trafficking these rohingyas ... since so many seem to know why not publicise their names so that they can be prosecuted ?

Posted by Sailor on June 27, 2013 12:43

Editor Comment:

Naming names is the job of the honest, uncorruptable officers in the Thai military and the police force. All we can do is help them make a start.

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There are always at least two sides to these things, I like the slogan that you may be familiar with "When the buying stops the killing can stop too" for protected species, the same is true for corruption, there are two sides, one side pays and one receives and they are both wrong...however one is not likely to expose the other part. Here apparently the press know or know people that are involved in trafficking, I fail to understand why it is not important to expose these wrongdoers right away instead of waiting for somebody else to expose the wrongdoers. If people know for a fact that some people are involved in criminal acts and then they do not report them then does it not make them as guilty as the wrongdoers themselves?

Posted by Sailor on June 27, 2013 19:45

Editor Comment:

What you might think is accurate as an anonymous commenter has to actually be sustained by evidence in the real world, Sailor. Online it's easy to pretend. In the real world, even you have to put up, or shut up. It's not the role of the media to spread gossip, no matter how widespread it might be. The laws of slander and libel protect people from false accusations. If you know of wrongdoers, Sailor. please report them, but be aware that if you are wrong, you may go to jail. You would have to be especially ignorant to question Phuketwan's reporting on this issue.


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