Arrest order for 62 traffickers
Arrest warrants were issued for 62 suspects accused of running or benefiting from the trafficking of Rohingyas and Bangladeshis in the southern provinces, as part of a government crackdown on the illicit business, a Thai police officer said.
Twenty-one of the suspects, including former and current members of local administrative bodies, are in police custody.
Police are still hunting for Pajjuban Angchotephan, a former chairman of the Satun Provincial Administrative Organisation, who has reportedly fled to Malaysia, Pol Maj Gen Phutthichart Ekkachant, a deputy commissioner of Provincial Police Region-8, said.
Like local police in the south, civilian and military authorities based in Songkhla, Ranong, Satun are conducting a complete scrutiny of trafficking activities or relevant crimes along with detention camps to meet the 10-day deadline given last Wednesday by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
The police officer said the arrest of three other key suspects – Padang Besar municipality mayor Banjong Pongphol, deputy mayor Praset Lermleh, and fishery businessman Suwan Saengthong – were important to the police investigation.
Region-8 headquarters will submit a post-deadline report to Royal Thai Police commissioner-general General Somyot Poompanmoung, who will then forward it to Prayut.
Region-9 commissioner Pol Lt-General Montree Patranant said Malaysian intelligence police would meet with their Thai counterparts in Songkhla's Hat Yai district today to discuss the human trafficking issue and exchange information on the crime.