Thai Naval Commander Charged over Human Trafficking

displaced Rohingya people

Published Sep 21, 2015 11:47 PM by The Maritime Executive

Police in southern Thailand have obtained warrants for the arrest of four Thai military officers on charges related to human trafficking.

Among them, naval commander Kampanart Sangtonggeen has been accused of accepting bribes to turn a blind eye to the smuggling of Rohingya people along Thailand's western Andaman coast.

Local media reports that the four leaders are said to have deliberately avoided intercepting migrant vessels in return for money given to them by traffickers.

The Thai government cracked down on the smuggling trade in May after finding over 30 corpses in a hidden camp.

Later that month, many trafficking boats were trapped at sea and unable to land, causing a massive humanitarian crisis, that eventually led to Malaysia and Indonesia accepting the Rohingya on board as refugees.

There are now 150 warrants of arrest issued by the courts on people accused of being involved in human trafficking cases in Thailand. So far, around 90 people have been detained or have surrendered to police. Those arrested since the clampdown include police officers and local officials.