Couple carrying Malaysian passport arrested for human trafficking in Wang Kelian

BANGKOK: A Myanmar man and his Thai wife who were allegedly involved in a human trafficking syndicate linked to transit camps and mass graves found in 2015 in Wang Kelian – located in the Malaysian state of Perlis – was arrested in Bangkok on Thursday (Sept 1).

Thailand’s Assistant national police chief, Pol Lt-Gen Surachate Hakparn, said the 55-year-old man and his wife, who were carrying Malaysian passports, fled from Thailand to Kuala Lumpur (in 2015) and changed their names to escape their criminal past and evade police detection.

“The husband and wife admitted that they had changed their names. However, they declined the charges, including trafficking of Rohingya, pressed against them (in 2015),” he said at a press conference here.

Surachate said arrest warrants were issued to the couple for human trafficking and money laundering in 2015.

“The couple were involved in trafficking Rohingya from Rakhine in Myanmar and transit in Thailand before entering Malaysia. They were also committing money laundering through their tour bus company,” he said.

Surachate thanked the Malaysian police for their cooperation in getting the the couple arrested.

“To date, Thai police issued arrest warrants to 153 individuals, including Thai Army officers and local officials who were allegedly involved in the human trafficking in 2015. We have arrested 124 of them,” he said.

In May 2015, police discovered 139 graves in 28 temporary camps run by a human trafficking syndicate in the jungle near the Thai-Malaysian border in Wang Kelian. Similar graves were also found in Thailand.

The victims were said to have come from Myanmar and Bangladesh in search of jobs.

In 2019, a royal commission of inquiry was held to examine the evidence linked to the transit camps and mass graves. A total of 48 witnesses were called to testify. – Bernama