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23 human traffickers arrested in Thailand crackdown

23 human traffickers arrested in Thailand crackdown

BANGKOK: Twenty-three human trafficking “agents” were arrested during a major operation conducted by the Thai police to prevent southern Thailand from becoming a transit destination for migrants trying to cross illegally into Malaysia.

The operation, which began in May, also uncovered major trafficking routes used by the human trafficking syndicates to smuggle illegals from Myanmar to Thailand, with Malaysia as their final destination.

“This trafficking routes began from Koh Song, a Myanmar island situated near Ranong in southern Thailand. From Ranong, the illegals will be taken by bus to Chumphon and Phattalung before continuing their journey to Hatyai, a major town in southern Thailand,” said Maj Gen Surachet Hakpal.

From Hatyai, according to the deputy chief of Thailand’s Tourist Police, the illegals would be taken either to Sadao or Sungai Golok, two border towns just a stone’s throw from the Thai-Malaysian border for their final journey into Malaysia.

He said most of the illegals were Rohingya and other Myanmar nationals.

Maj Gen Surachet said, four of the 23 human trafficking “agents” caught in the sting were Myanmar nationals who had been “in the business” for over five years, facilitating illegal entry of their countrymen into Thailand and Malaysia.