Thai army general surrenders to police over migrants trafficking

Updated: 2015-06-03 17:54


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Thai army general surrenders to police over migrants trafficking

Thai Senior Army Advisor Lieutenant General Manat Khongpaen (C), who is allegedly involved in human trafficking of Rohingya migrants, is escorted by police officers as he turns himself in at the Royal Thai Police headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand, June 3, 2015. [Photo/IC]

BANGKOK - A Thai army general suspected of involvement in Rohingya migrants trafficking in southern Thailand surrendered himself to the police on Wednesday.

Lt. Gen. Manat Khongpaen, a former commander of the 42nd Army Circle based in Haat Yai city, was accused of being implicated in the trafficking of Rohingya migrants from Myanmar, who had been lured into a Thai border area with Malaysia last month.

The police are yet to interrogate the general, who has already been suspended from his duty by army chief Gen. Udomdej Sitabutra, over the scandal in which he had allegedly joined dozens of other suspects in the illegal trafficking of the Muslim migrants from Myanmar's Rakhine state.

Lt. Gen. Manat has been so far the only Thai military officer who was among a total of 84 human trafficking suspects for whom arrest warrants had been issued. The others included police officers and local politicians in southern Thailand.

A total of 64 Rohingyas had been rescued from jungles in Thai- Malaysian border areas while 249 others had been arrested on illegal entry charges, according to deputy police chief Pol Gen. Ake Ungsananond. All the illegal migrants are yet to be repatriated to Myanmar.

The remains of 36 deceased Rohingyas had been found at a makeshift graveyard in Thailand's Padang Besar area bordering Malaysia's Perlis state, where the migrants might have been hired as laborers in rubber or palm plantations.