A Myanmar national, Soe Naing (aka Anwar), as been arrested along with three Thai officials on suspicion of the trafficking of migrants into Thailand. The arrest came after the discovery of a mass grave, near the Thai border crossing of Sadao, that contained the remains of 26 migrants believed to be trafficked from Myanmar or Bangladesh. It is believed the migrants are Anchorfrom the Rohingya minority in Myanmar and were most likely bound for Malaysia.
It is thought that the victims, 25 male and one female, died from either disease or starvation however the cause of death has not been confirmed. The victims were belived to have been held in a jungle camp while waiting for relatives who had already arrived in Malaysia to pay traffickers to secure their release.
The three Thai officals already in custody were identified as Asan Inthathanoo, 42, a tambon Padang Besar municipal councillor; Ror-en Sonyalae, 41, assistant headman of Ban Talo village and Alee Lamoh, 47, assistant village head. They denied all charges at a police press conference in Songkhla on Monday.A number of other individuals have been implicated in the trafficking ring and arrest warrants will follow.
Last year, the U.S. State Department downgraded Thailand to Tier 3, the lowest possible ranking in its annual Trafficking in Persons report. It noted that the country was a destination, source and transit point for trafficking. Human Rights Watchhas called on Thai officials to authorize an independent, United Nations-assisted probe into the camp and the trafficking trade behind it.