Thailand seizes $1 mn from human trafficking networks

Bangkok, (IANS/EFE) Authorities in Thailand have seized around $1 million from networks related to immigrant trafficking in the region, a media report said on Friday.

The head of the Anti-Money Laundering Office, Sihanart Prayoorat, said that $118,000 correspond to General Manas Kongpan, a very senior official under investigation for human trafficking.

On June 3, Manas was delivered to the National Police in Bangkok and a court in Songkhla province issued an arrest warrant the next day.

The official investigation discovered that Manas received cash transfers of other alleged human traffickers between February and March 2014 in a bank account.

The operation against trafficking gangs in Thailand in early May triggered an immigration crisis, with the appearance of ships carrying thousands of illegal immigrants in the waters of Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

More than 5,000 Bangladeshis and Rohingyas have landed since then in Indonesia and Malaysia, countries that on May 20 pledged to welcome all immigrants adrift at sea provided the international community committed itself to repatriate them or take them to a third country within a year.

The Muslim ethnic group of Rohingya suffers persecution in western Myanmar and are not well received in Bangladesh either.

Around 25,000 people sailed in boats from Bangladesh and Myanmar to Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia during the first quarter of 2015, double the number that was registered in the same period last year, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

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