Thailand indicts 72 for human trafficking

Bangkok, July 24 (IANS) Thai authorities on Friday indicted 72 people, including a senior army officer suspected of involvement in a multinational human trafficking ring.

The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) recommended charges against over 100 people and issued an order to indict the 72 immediately on 16 counts of human trafficking, transnational criminal activity, bringing foreign workers into Thailand illegally and violation of official duty, OAG spokesman Wanchai Roujanavong said.

Thailand launched a massive investigation in May after 33 bodies, believed to be migrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh, were exhumed from various jungle camps near the Thai-Malaysian border, The Bangkok Post reported.

“We will indict all 72 people who have been arrested,” Wanchai said, adding: “For those people who are still on the run overseas, we will work with national police to send them back, according to existing extradition treaties.”

Among the arrested, senior army official Lt. General Manas Kongpan, was charged with being the people-smuggling kingpin in southern Thailand.

Police said they have so far arrested 72 people and issued arrest warrants for 45 more.

None of the suspects will get bail, Wanchai added.

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