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Man arrested in Thailand for trafficking fellow Burmese

In this file photo, Burmese crew members await departure on a commercial fishing boat in Thailand. (Photo: Reuters)

A Burmese man has been arrested in southern Thailand’s Songkhla Province for trafficking fellow Burmese workers to work in the fishery industry.

Neh, 30, was caught this week at a rented room in Songkhla’s Hat Ya District and charged with colluding to traffic people.

Pol Maj Gen Kornchai Klaiklueng, chief of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division (ATPD), said the arrest followed the rescue of two Burmese illegal workers from the sea in Si Racha, Chonburi Province, on 7 April.

The workers, Jorjor Tuy and Raman, told police they and another friend had been lured from Victoria Point opposite Ranong Province into working in Thailand.

From Ranong, they were taken by bus to Hat Ya District where they were put in a townhouse and locked up. They were also told not to contact anyone.

Later, they were transported to Muang District of Pattani Province where they met a woman, Kuntae, who took them to a house before sending them to work on a trawler.

Police Major-General Kornchai said the men were forced to work on the Chai Charoen fishing boat from 16 March last year to 7 April this year.

On board the boat, the workers were supervised by a fellow Burmese named Yao who sometimes beat them up.

The workers were not paid or given shore leave.

On 7 April when the boat made its way from Chonburi, Tuy and Raman decided to jump overboard to escape the cruel treatment and were subsequently rescued, according to police.

The men filed a police complaint against the traffickers and the court later issued warrants for the arrest of Neh, Kuntae and Yao.

ATPD deputy chief Angkoon Klaiklueng said trafficking networks preferred to send victims to work in the far South due to poor security in some areas.

Police were sent to the southern border provinces to probe the trafficking ring run by Neh. Investigators found the network employs a broker, Jor Tan Uu, who is in Burma supplying the illegal workers.

After his arrest, police say Neh told them he brought more than 100 Burmese illegal workers to work in the far South last year.

He charged a brokerage fee per head of 500-3,000 baht (US$14-86).

This year, he had trafficked about 50 people.