Wed, Jun 24, 2015 - Page 6 News List

Thai police finish ‘sincere’ human trafficking probe

Reuters, BANGKOK

Thai police yesterday said they had “shown sincerity” and wrapped up the country’s biggest investigation into human trafficking, as rights groups questioned whether they had even scratched the surface.

Thailand began a crackdown on trafficking networks and suspected camps hidden deep in its jungle-carpeted mountains last month following the discovery of more than 30 bodies buried in camps in the south.

Police have arrested 56 suspects — including politicians, police, government officials, businesspeople and an army general — and issued arrest warrants for 63.

Police Deputy Commissioner General Aek Angsananont called the probe “the biggest human trafficking investigation in Thailand’s history.”

About 1,000 police officers, many of them based in southern Thailand, took part in the investigation, Aek said, without elaborating on any ongoing or future probes.

Police have sent 19 boxes filled with more than 100,000 pages of documents to the Thai Office of the Attorney General, which will have until July 24 to decide whether to file charges, Aek said.

“This government has shown its sincerity in solving this problem by seriously tackling human trafficking and by dealing with those involved,” Aek told reporters.

However, rights groups, including the New York-based Human Rights Watch, said the investigation would not put an end to networks operating in the region.

“It is highly likely that if this investigation turns out to just be window dressing to defuse international pressure, then it will have no impact,” Human Rights Watch Thailand researcher Sunai Phasuk told reporters.

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