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.
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