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The beaten back of a Rohingya man who narrowly escaped death in a trafficker's camp and was interviewed on Phuket earlier this year

Thailand's Corruption and the Trafficking in Human Flesh Must End

Monday, December 9, 2013
News Analysis

PHUKET: Thais have a penchant for setting records and today's turnout across the nation will probably be world's largest street protest on International Anti-Corruption Day 2013.

Whether at the end of a remarkable day Thailand's deeply divisive wounds can now be healed will still remain in doubt.

The numbers tell the story of the tremors shaking the country and the chasm that remains.

On Phuket, by some estimates as many as 50,000 people marched through the province's capital, waving flags and blowing whistles, and calling for an end to ''the Thaksin system.''

That's the wish of Thailand's south, where Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her allegedly controlling brother have never been popular.

In Udon Thani, in Isarn, far to the north, the picture could not have been more different.

Fifty protesters were forced to take sanctuary in the local post office after being mobbed by between 200 and 300 ''Red'' government supporters, armed with sticks.

Tonight, whoever claims victory after all the whistling and the waving comes to an end, there will still be much healing to do.

Corruption has been accepted in Thailand for generations. But one positive outcome tomorrow should be a far less tolerant approach towards bribery and graft.

It is inconceivable, even if somehow Yingluck Shinawatra manages to stay in power, that the sins of the past will be allowed to continue into the future.

According to her detractors, no government in Thailand's history has proved so grasping and greedy, and so controlling.

Phuketwan has certainly heard of large payments being made by provincial governors, by top police and even by public prosecutors to win advancement under ''the Thaksin system.''

Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban says the excesses of the Shinawatras have turned Thailand into a ''family business'' - and as a former Deputy prime Minister who has faced corruption allegations, he ought to know.

What indicates that Thailand has now reached new depths of corruption are the reports published by Phuketwan on December 3 and two days later by the Reuters news agency highlighting the human trafficking of Rohingya boatpeople on an unprecedented scale.

Everybody remembers the anti-drugs crusade by the Thaksin Shinawatra government, which led to the deaths of thousands at the hands of assassins and drugs lords.

Guess what? Phuketwan was told as we investigated the human trafficking of the Rohingya in Thailand that many people have given up dealing in drugs.

They've now switched to dealing in human flesh, because it's more lucrative and far less dangerous.

The fingers in the human trafficking trade in Thailand point squarely at officials in the government of Yingluck Shinawatra.

When the dust clears from the tramping of thousands of anti-corruption protesters in Thailand today, she and her government - or perhaps her ex-government - will still have many questions to answer.

Comments

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All due respect to your journalism, yet again you fail to address the true picture. The protesters are a minority rabble sponsored to do so. Human trafficking on the Ranong border is wrong in the eyes of the world and nothing to do with the party in government. Your despot tabloid attempt to divert attention away from the real issues is an insult to your loyal readership. Come on gives your readers a history lesson and tell them the real issue. When will the PW grow a pair?

Posted by gee on December 9, 2013 19:15

Editor Comment:

''Human trafficking on the Ranong border is wrong in the eyes of the world and nothing to do with the party in government.''

The government oversees the activities of all its officers and it would be difficult to claim in this case, with a clearcut policy involving thousands of refugees (a) lack of knowledge, proving ineffectiveness in government or (b) knowledge, proving complicity.

You will never get it, gee. It's plain you're a person from some other less intelligent era.

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@ the Ed why do you even allow people to post & then, in a petulant fit, berate and insult people? YOU are NOT the arbiter of Phuket, people can and do have different views. Learn to live with it, maybe this would help to sell your blog.......

Posted by paul on December 9, 2013 19:41

Editor Comment:

People can and do have different opinions, but unless they are informed opinions, those opinions have next to no value, paul. Uninformed opinions are useless opinions. Unless you have some direct experience or some information to add, you are wasting your time, and ours. Guesswork is pointless.

We respond to comments because we care, but what we care about is the truth, not whether or not anonymous commenters can have opinions.

Nothing we do or say is petulant, nor do we deliberately berate or insult people. Nor are we the arbiters of Phuket. If you want to read opinions published without reaction, and without care, there are plenty of other options.

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Gee, You cannot expect the PW Ed to be fair, balanced or impartial. He runs this site so as to have power and in order to voice his highly conservative opinions without having to engage in competent discourse. He's worse than any government official could ever be, in that regard. Why would you play his game ?

Posted by MediaWatcher on December 9, 2013 19:43

Editor Comment:

Your opinion is, as usual, wildly wide of the mark and free from competent discourse.

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Ed - I made a comment about your comment, NOT about the article as I have nothing to add.
"Its plain you are a person from some other less intelligent era?" Again a silly insult, which in my INFORMED opinion is nothing more than petulant given your advanced years.

Posted by paul on December 10, 2013 09:35

Editor Comment:

gee is a regular commenter whose main purpose is to dissemble and, if he is given half a chance, to insult Thais. In criticising my response to gee's comments, you are applying ill-informed guesswork. Feel free to offer your opinions wherever you like, but if you offer them here, your misguided values will always be challenged. Perhaps, with a little more age and experience, you might gain some wisdom.

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Who are YOU to challenge my values & state the are misguided or not. Having lived & worked in 7 countries, I believe I have a good basis to make educated comments. You, may also have this foundation, we differ in that, even at my tender years, I know when to just let some things go & keep quiet. I fear you may not have the years left to gain this valuable lesson. Perhaps I can assist you in this regard?

Posted by paul on December 10, 2013 10:01

Editor Comment:

I am not interested in telling you what to do, paul. But clearly, your qualifications allow you to tell me what to do. I had no idea that working in a multitude of countries actually improves one's ability to make misguided anonymous comments.

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I offer advice, which you sorely need. Not sure about your ideas of anonymity, but you have my email & name - what else do you need?

Posted by paul on December 10, 2013 10:59

Editor Comment:

You are anonymous 'paul' to all readers, including me. If you imagine that email addresses are a reliable guide to readers' identities, then your opinion on this topic is as misguided as on other topics. And your advice is definitely not needed.

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This is your biggest problem ed..you really believe that you and you alone are the only intelligent person on this blogsite.

Reality check..you display very little intelligence, instead choosing to belittle the many who can and do offer good opinions on this site, at least that is , those who only differ from you own very biased POV.But the majority of them are intelligent enough to realise that your actions are 100% to gain hits on your struggling personal blogsite.
If you really believe that this is the way to get sponsors and or perspective buyers..this is just another display of lack of any real intelligence from you.

But as usual you will not be told and instead if you even post this , you will attack me and the post as usual. Bizarre to say the least.

Posted by James on December 10, 2013 11:58

Editor Comment:

I am smart enough to tell the difference between real life, James, and the online world of anonymous commenters with hidden agendas. Just so 'paul' and other readers don't think I am misrepresenting you, here's your previous unpublished comment, so typical of your idea of ''intelligence':

Lower than a snakes belly morrison..you go and edit your original nasty comment overnight..you are as i said before a f----- cowardly loser!!Man up for once in your life!!

And the one before it:

What a f----ing disgusting thing to post on your pathetic disgusting blog site you f----n disgusting piece of s--- morrison!!!Go hang your head in shame ..and have the balls to post this...

Reality check, please James.

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The persecution of these poor people by the Thai authorities is 'common knowledge' and has been stated not only here, but in other major media outlets of the world. This video clearly shows how they are being treated whilst in custody.

http://youtu.be/qFsI49rI_Y4

I felt sick watching this, and appauled how the Thai authorities can behave in such an inhumane way is beyond belief.

PW is entitled to have an opinion, and I know has continually campaigned to highlight this violation, and many others. Indeed their plight hopefully will open people's hearts and minds of these dispicable acts and other injustices.

Readers here are entitled to an opinion of course, but if you are not moved by the overwhelming evidence which has presented itself, then I'm afraid your humanity must be questioned.

Posted by reader on December 10, 2013 13:00

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@ Ed - you have discarded two of my comments to this article, so I will try to explain my point from another angle.

Let's look at our own small duck pond problems with the local taxi system.

Are the government aware of these problems? Yes.

Does the government want to solve these problems? Yes.

Are the problems solved? No.

Did the government do anything wrong in this case? No.

This is just about a group of people, not organized mafia, who openly disobey the law.

Now try to ask the same questions, with focus on a real mafia operation, hidden far away in the jungle.

The answers of all questions will be that nobody knows, unless there are some solid evidence which proves the opposite.

Publish this or not, I don't really care, just want to explain my opinion of this article.

Posted by Sherlock on December 10, 2013 13:13

Editor Comment:

National governments are not usually involved in decision-making about taxis and tuk-tuks, Sherlock, but most governments set policies for the control and treatment of immigrants. This government was fully aware in January of what was happening with the 2200 Rohingya being held in Thailand, and with the other Rohingya arriving by boat. I don't know what you think governments are supposed to do, but believe me, they are supposed to know what is happening with thousands of immigrants. This government either approved of the corruption and brutality involved or will pretend it had no knowledge.

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Thanks for at last posting some comments that have not been edited to suit your agenda.

Its all true and i'll stand by what i said..These are representative of a huge amount of readers views of you and your antics on youir failing blogsite>

Well done for posting it, tho' i have no doubt at all its only for the sympathy posts that you often post and/or pen yourself, to show how nasty we all are..
I will reiterate ..you are a manipulator of the worst kind!

Posted by James on December 10, 2013 13:19

Editor Comment:

You can reiterate your lies to your heart's content, james, just don't expect anything you say to be taken seriously by me or by others.

Phuketwan now has a record audience, averaging more than 10,000 readers a day. Figures from alexa.com show we rate more highly than both other news outlets on Phuket in terms of the number of pages read, bounce rate and daily time spent on site.

How wrong can you be, james, over and over again.

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@ Ed, you choose to label me as anonymous, but as we say in LOS up to you. Once again you resort to insults, just because someone dares not agree with your POV. I do see one glimmer of hope for you, in that you have chosen not to take the advice offered. For once you are able to just let it be, hopefully you can do the same when it comes to moderating.
I could not agree more with James, your tactics are nothing short of baiting. Indeed it would seem to work in this instance.

Posted by paul on December 10, 2013 13:33

Editor Comment:

You have the freedom not to visit this site and not to offer a comment. Readers are able to tell with great ease who started this issue and to wonder why you continue to waste your time.

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Hi "He Who Knows All" [or thinks he does ... 555]
I've just heard that casting is being considered for a proposed new series of ... AN IDIOT ABROAD! ... 555
I put your name forward as an obvious candidate but it was rejected ... on the basis that 500+ people had beaten me to it :-( ... 555
I've noticed you're still avoiding replies/updates relating the forced and distressed disposal of PW you mentioned several months ago ... 555 ... not long to go now ... 555 ... might be worth considering putting your name forward [see above] before PW finally goes belly up ... 555
Others are doing well seeing through your immature comments etc etc so I will probably leave it to them ... 555 ... there are enough of them ... 555 ... but you never know ... 555

Posted by Amazed in Thailand on December 10, 2013 13:57

Editor Comment:

For those readers who don't know, 555 is the alternative for ''hahaha'' in Thai speech. Amazed in Thailand clearly has a few problems with laughing in all the wrong places.

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I thought the people killed in the anti-drugs crusade were not killed by the drug lords, but rather unofficially the government, check amnesty international

Posted by Michael on December 10, 2013 15:04

Editor Comment:

I suggest you do your own checking, Michael, otherwise your comment is a waste of time.

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15th October 2013 The Minister of Tourism and Sports has led a team of officials to Phuket to launch an investigation into complaints of illegal taxis along Patong beach.

So this government has been involved in decision-making about taxis and tuk-tuks on Phuket, but the government has not been able to control what happened in the field.

If the government had knowledge about human trafficking of the Rohingya, before Reuters report was published, could it be, that they simply were unable to control the situation?

The Prime Minister has clearly announced that Thailand will help the United Nations and the United States with any investigation into the findings of the Reuters report.

Doesn't seem that the government wants to hide anything concerning this case.

Posted by Sherlock on December 10, 2013 16:38

Editor Comment:

The Prime Minister promised earlier this year to investigate allegations that the navy was involved in a shooting incident and human trafficking. Guess what, Sherlock. Nothing happened. In 2009, the then PM also promised an investigation into boatpeople ''pushbacks.'' Guess what, Sherlock. Nothing happened. I don't know why you are comparing human trafficking and tuk-tuks. Most people would find the comparison odd.

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Guess what Ed, the comparison is, that nothing happens, because there is powers involved, that no Thai government can control.

Posted by Sherlock on December 10, 2013 17:43

Editor Comment:

Sorry Sherlock, there is no valid comparison. While the US President takes responsibility for patrols along the Mexican border, taxis in New York are not his concern.

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Who told you when you checked before it was only used by schoolchildren ... I think they were having a 555 with you ... hahaha
I have re-read my previous post and can confirm that all reference to "555" is correct. When in Rome?

Posted by Amazed in Thailand on December 10, 2013 20:16


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