Written by Staff Writer
05 May, 2015 | 3:14 pm
Thai police held a news conference following the arrests of three Thais suspected of involvement in a human trafficking network in Pedanbesar, as well as a man authorities believe to be a key figure in the trafficking network.
The arrest of Soe Naing, also known as “Anwar” and the uncovering of the camp containing 26 bodies, is the first major bust of a trade in humans that activists and some Thai officials say has been allowed to flourish for years amid indifference and, sometimes, complicity by Thai authorities.
“He (Soe Naing or Anwar) is being questioned in another part of the investigation which we are not taking him to show for now,” said national police chief, police general Somyot Poompanmuang.
Anwar was detained last Tuesday as authorities closed in on a camp near the Thai-Malaysia border where as many as 400 trafficked migrants, mainly Rohingya and Bangladeshis, were imprisoned for ransom.
He was charged with fraud related to his failure to release a trafficked Rohingya after receiving a ransom payment.
Anwar denies any involvement in trafficking and says he made a living tapping rubber and selling fried bread. People with grudges against him circulated his photo and accused him of trafficking, he told Reuters in Nakhon Si Thammarat police station on Tuesday.
Police are collecting evidence with a view to laying charges against Anwar, a Rohingya living in the southern Thai province of Songkhla, for murder, human trafficking and cross-border criminal activity, said Anuchon. Phone records, financial transactions and witness testimony point to Anwar allegedly playing a central role in the operation, Anuchon said. Police are also collecting DNA evidence from the grave site.
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