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Truck driver arrested for smuggling 27 Rohingya

Mar 17. 2017
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By Agence France-Presse

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Immigration police and troops arrested a Thai truck driver for allegedly trying to smuggle 27 Rohingya from Bangkok to Narathiwat province en route to Malaysia early Friday.

Polcie alleged Somrak Pinsang, 43, admitted after his arrest at about 1.30am that he was hired for Bt30,000 to drive the Rohingya from Bang Mod in Bangkok’s Thung Khuru district to Narathiwat’s Weng district.

Acting on a tip-off, troops and immigration police stopped Somrak’s truck at a road checkpoint in Narathiwat’s Tak Bai district and found 22 men, three women and two children hiding in the back.

Police said Somrak, who was travelling with his son (age unknown), claimed the owner of the truck knew nothing about the alleged smuggling attempt as he told the owner he was hired to transport goods. 

Somrak said he had successfully smuggled Rohingya from Bangkok to Narathiwat’s border district three times before.

One of the smuggled Rohingya told authorities via an interpreter that they sneaked across the border from Myanmar via Tak’s Mae Sot district. He said each Rohingya paid a broker Bt15,000 to hire a smuggling gang to take them to Malaysia. 

They were supposed to be smuggled across a river to Malaysia at the border and hid in Kelantan, Malaysia while waiting for a Malaysian broker to distribute them to Malaysian employers.

The truck driver and his son were taken to the 46th Ranger Regiment for further questioning before being handed over to police for legal action.

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