The kingpin behind the trafficking of Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshi immigrants is believed to have gone into hiding in Ranong, bordering Kawthoung in Myanmar. – Reuters pic, May 31, 2015.The 'snakehead' behind the trafficking of Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshi immigrants is believed to have gone into hiding in Ranong, bordering Kawthoung in Myanmar.
This is to avoid detection by the authorities as the heat intensifies to track down the mastermind behind a human trafficking network, going by the observation of locals at Ban Ta Lok here, where a mass grave containing six bodies believed to be that of human trafficking victims was found.
(Snakehead is an international criminal slang for human smugglers)
Recently, Bernama and TV3 which visited the mass grave, about a month after it was discovered, was informed by the locals that the illegal activity was operated by the snakehead's henchmen.
The henchmen are in hiding at a place called Bukit Gelas, not far from where the mass grave was located.
Prior to the discovery of the mass graves, Surin Mochen, 85, pointed out that the likes of Rohingya refugees could be seen roaming around the village, though not that often.
"The henchmen brought the refugees from somewhere. The henchmen have a boss (snakehead) who is from Ranong," he said when met at a mosque where the remains of the victims were placed to have prayers performed, about four weeks ago.
Another local, Yunus Hamid, 45, who was met at the location verified Surin's information.
"The people here are saying the 'boss' (snakehead) is from Ranong, (but) he does not come here. According to local hearsay, the 'boss' in question is of Thai origin.
"Currently, there is no development on the victims of human trafficking. Now, there are soldiers patrolling the surrounding areas," he said.
Ranong is located along the Northern Andaman Coast in the south of Thailand and is easily accessible via boat from Kawthoung, Myanmar.
Today, Thai online media ‘The Daily Star’ reported that Region 9 police deputy commander, Pol Maj-General Putthichat Ekachan was quoted as saying that 81 arrest warrants had been issued thus far, including four new arrest warrants. The arrest warrants were in connection with human trafficking activities. – Bernama, May 31, 2015.
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