By Thanakorn Wongnang
Suspect Tah Singto maintained his innocence and denied the charges of conspiring to commit a human-trafficking offence, conspiring with a transnational criminal organisation and hiding and helping illegal migrants to escape arrest.
Tah claimed his name was tied to the alleged human-trafficking gang because he had bought a pick-up truck for one of two previously apprehended suspects who then used the vehicle for illegally trafficking the migrants without his knowledge.
The 27 workers along with two Myanmar agents were rounded up on May 8 from two pick-up trucks at the train station's parking lot. Police then nabbed another batch of 30 illegal Myanmar migrants who were hiding in a wooded area in San Sai.
The 57 illegal migrants, aged 18 to 30, claimed to have paid the gang Bt7,000 per head to bring them to Bangkok for jobs as labourers.
Further investigation revealed that 10 individuals were involved with this human-trafficking gang, including those who allegedly brought the workers across the Myanmar border into Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district and those who brought them to Chiang Mai before trying to put them on a train to the capital.