Thai traffickers convicted of smuggling ‘boat people’

PPA Thai human trafficking kingpin convicted of masterminding the smuggling and trafficking of ‘boat people’ from Rakhine State was sentenced to 35 years in prison and fined 660,000 bahts by the provincial court in Nakorn Si Thammarat, Park Phanang district, according to reports.
Sunand Saengthong was reported to be the architect of a human trafficking and smuggling network.
His arrest was part of the Thailand government’s commitment to crack down on human traffickers as of 2015, sources said, adding that most of his victims were from Bangladesh who were smuggled into Myanmar, where they made contact with traffickers to enter Thailand and then Malaysia and other Islamist countries.
According to Thailand’s police, Sunand was the main culprit of the last year’s case involving the smuggling of 97 boat people into Thailand. Further investigation led to the discovery of the money transferred by human traffickers to his bank account. In connection with the case, two other accomplices were arrested and sentenced to one-and-a-half years in prison.
Last year, Thailand’s police raids on human trafficking and smuggling resulted in the arrest of 100 people, including senior military officers.—Kyaw Soe (Kawthaung)

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