Thailand begins trial of human trafficking suspects

Bangkok, Nov 10 (IANS) A Thai court on Tuesday began the trial of 88 defendants charged with trafficking of Rohingya migrants from Myanmar.

The 88 include top Thai officials, including former senior army advisor Manas Kongpan and former head of the Satun provincial administration organisation Patchuban Angchotphan, The Bangkok Post reported.

The defendants have been accused of colluding in the trafficking of Bangladeshi and Rohingya migrants between January 2011 and May 1 this year. They allegedly offered to smuggle them for jobs in Malaysia.

Instead the illegal migrants were allegedly taken to jungle camps along the Thai-Malaysian border and extorted for extra payment.

Many migrants died in these camps due to lack of food and water.

The court has set four days for the examination of evidence and witnesses starting from Tuesday until Friday.

Thailand has issued arrest warrants against a total of 153 human trafficking suspects.

Earlier this year, 32 graves believed to contain the remains of Bangladeshi and Rohingya illegal migrants were found in Songkhla province, which borders Malaysia.

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