Turkey to Malaysia to find work: Suspect's story

Turkey to Malaysia to find work: Suspect's story

Bilal Mohammed, on the day of his arrest. He has told his lawyer he did not arrive in Thailand, with a human trafficker trying to get to Malaysia, until after the Aug 17 bombing. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Bilal Mohammed, on the day of his arrest. He has told his lawyer he did not arrive in Thailand, with a human trafficker trying to get to Malaysia, until after the Aug 17 bombing. (Bangkok Post file photo)

As Muslim refugee from China in Turkey had to wait 20 years for passport, so paid human traffickers to bring him to Malaysia with fake passports, where new life awaited him, he believed.

BANGKOK BOMBING

Went from Turkey to Malaysia to find work: Bombing suspect's story

Bombing suspect says wasn't even in Thailand when bomb went off & his family still don't know about his arrest

20/09/2015
Jitsiree Thongnoi

By now, the face of the first bombing suspect arrested after the Erawan Shrine bombing, Adem Karadag as he was known from his fake passport, is quite familiar to almost everyone (see photo above).

The infamous Adem Karadag, however, might be just another not-so-dangerous victim of human trafficking rather than the dangerous bomber he initially seemed to be, if his story is true.

Adem Karadag's real name is Bilal Mohammed, 30.

Last week he told the story, to his lawyer Mr. Choochart Khanphai, of how he was allegedly human trafficked from Turkey to Thailand with final destination actually being Malaysia.

Lawyer Choochart Khanphai is assisting bomb suspect Bilal Mohammed.

The official statement  was presented to the Turkish Embassy to try and gain consular assistance last week.

Mr. Bilal speaks reasonable English and he was able to communicate with his lawyer in English.

His family back in Turkey still doesn't even know he is in jail in Thailand yet.

The lawyer said the lawyer's involvement with Turkish business people in Bangkok led him to represent Mr Bilal, as the news of the fake Turkish passport was raising concerns among Turkish nationals.

In short, Mr Bilal's statement gives an account of travelling from Istanbul in Turkey before making his way to Bangkok via Vietnam in order to be transported to Malaysia to find work.

Fake Turkish passports seized from the Bangkok apartment of Erawan bombing suspect. Human trafficking gangs usually supply Uighur migrants with such fake passports.

THE JOURNEY BEGINS

Mr Bilal was born in the Xinjiang region in western China. His family moved to Istanbul from Urumqi, Xinjiang, in 2004 more than a decade ago. His father died in 1990. Him and his brothers and sisters have Turkish nationality, but their mother does not.

Mr Bilal and his brother Adil work as truck drivers in Turkey.

Mr Bilal prepared US$7,000 [250,000 baht] for the journey, he had savings of US$5,000 and he borrowed US$2,000 from his brother.

He spent US$1,000 obtaining the first passport in Turkey.

As an immigrant, even though with Turkish citizenship, Mr Bilal cannot obtain permission to leave the country until he has stayed in Turkey for 20 years.

That is why he needed fake passports.

Another US$750 was spent to buy a plane ticket to Hanoi, Vietnam.

Mr Bilal was told in Turkey that upon landing in Hanoi he would be picked up by a man named Abdullah Abdulrahman.

When he arrived in Hanoi, he met with Mr Abdullah, who speaks Turkish, at the airport.

He was taken to a hotel “owned by an Arab”.

He disposed of his first passport and obtained another passport with the name Adem Karadag for US$1,200.

Human trafficking routes used to move Uighurs from country to country stretch across Asia.

VIETNAM TO LAOS TO THAILAND TO MALAYSIA

Mr Bilal didn’t take a direct route to Malaysia because he was told that a fake passport could be spotted easier there, in Malaysia, than in Vietnam.

Mr Bilal stayed in Hanoi for three months.

In mid-July he travelled to Laos with Mr Abdullah.

They spent another 35 days there before making their way to the Thai-Laos border on Aug 21

This was four days after the Erawan Shrine bombing which killed 20 people.

The lengthy stays in each location were due to waiting for an earlier “group of people” to move on before Mr Bilal could follow the same human trafficking route.

THAI IMMIGRATION

Mr Bilal remembers arriving at the Laos immigration about 10am, before reaching the Thai immigration.

He paid US$600 for passing each border point.

At both immigration points, Mr Bilal said the human trafficker Mr Abdullah seemed familiar with the Thai immigration officers and was joking and smiling with them.

Throughout the journey, Mr Abdullah held his passport. Mr Bilal couldn’t say whether or not it was stamped.

Police have not yet revealed the border point where the passport in the name Adem Karadag was used to enter Thailand or the date it was used.

As they passed the immigration point into Thailand, a small car was waiting with a Thai driver to take them to Bangkok.

STAY IN BOMB ROOM BEFORE TRIP TO MALAYSIA

Upon arrival in Bangkok between 4pm and 5pm, they took a taxi to the Pool Anant Apartments.

Mr Bilal stayed in room 412 and Abdullah in room 414. Mr Bilal says he never entered room 414.

Mr Abdullah bought him food, which included beef, oil and apples which he cooked in the room. When he discussed his travel plans with Mr Abdullah it was on the balcony outside the rooms.

Mr Abdullah exchanged Mr Bilal’s money for him. On the day of the police raid he had 11,000 baht, 200 ringgit and US$400.

During their stay, Mr Abdullah assured Mr Bilal that there were many who had stayed in his room before and all had successfully made their way to Malaysia.

On Aug 24, Mr Abdullah handed over a fake passport, saying that Mr Bilal should prepare for the trip to Malaysia.

On Aug 25 or 26, Mr Abdullah called Mr Bilal on a phone the smuggler had bought for him and said he should be ready to travel. He never saw or heard from Mr Abdullah again.

Police have issued an arrest warrant for Mr Abdullah.

THE RAID

On the day of the raid, August 29, Mr Bilal said he was preparing breakfast, after washing and airing his clothes.

It was his eighth day in Bangkok, after arriving on the 21st, and he had never been outside the condo building.

As Mr Bilal opened the door to see what the commotion outside was, he was shoved out of the room and several uniformed men stormed in and searched the premises.

The room was sparse. Mr Bilal said he slept on a green carpet, which was used as a bed at night and a prayer mat by day.

The carpet was later photographed by police with items in plastic bags found in the room, including the clothes he aired in the morning.

He maintains that every item in the plastic bags - including screwdrivers, scissors and batteries - were scattered in drawers or shelves before he arrived.

He denies ever seeing other items, such as ball bearings and steel pipes, which were shown in police photographs after the raid.

Mr. Bilal in room after the raid on Pool Anant apartments.


The clothes he wore that day, a yellow shirt and cream-coloured pants, were in the room before his arrival. He wore them as he waited for his own clothes to dry.

Mr Bilal denies any involvement or awareness of bomb-making materials or procedures.

Mr Bilal only wants to find work as a driver or furniture-maker in Malaysia because he has seen many earn money after travelling from Turkey to work in Malaysia.

According to his lawyer, Mr Bilal can be detained while awaiting the case to be filed with a court for seven 12-day periods, or 84 days in total.

Mr Bilal has confessed to possession of a fake passport and illegal entry. He could face a four-year jail term for the two charges.

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Vocabulary

  • account: a spoken or written report about something that has happened - รายงานข่าว
  • allegedly: claimed to have done something wrong, but not yet proven - ที่กล่าวหา
  • arrest warrant: a document signed by a judge allowing police to arrest someone - หมายจับ
  • arrested: caught by the police and taken to a police station because you are believed to have committed a crime - ถูกจับกุม
  • arrival: when someone reaches where they are going (arrives) - ขาเข้า การเข้ามา
  • assistance: help; aid - ความช่วยเหลือ
  • assure: to tell someone that something is true or will definitely happen - ให้ความมั่นใจ, ยืนยัน
  • awareness: knowing that something exists, or having knowledge or experience of a particular thing - การรับรู้, การทราบ, ความตระหนัก
  • balcony: a place where you can stand just outside an upper window. It sticks out from the wall of a building - ระเบียง
  • ball bearing: small metal balls used in machines - ตลับลูกปืนเม็ดกลม
  • border: the official line separating two areas, regions or countries - เขตแดน อาณาเขต
  • borrow: to take money from a bank, financial organisation, person, etc. and pay it back over a period of time - ยืม
  • charge : an official statement accusing someone of committing a crime - ข้อกล่าวหา
  • citizenship: being a member of a particular country and having rights because of it - ชนชาติ, ความเป็นพลเมือง
  • commotion: a sudden short period of noise, confusion or excited movement - ความสับสนวุ่นวาย
  • communicate (verb): to express thoughts, feelings, or information to another person or animal, for example by speaking or writing - สื่อสาร, ติดต่อสื่อสาร
  • concern: a worry - ความกังวล
  • confess (verb): to admit that you have committed a crime - สารภาพผิด
  • consular: involving government officials who represent their country in a foreign city - เกี่ยวกับกงสุล
  • decade: a period of ten years - ทศวรรษ
  • deny: to say that something is not true - ปฏิเสธ
  • destination: the place where someone or something is going - จุดหมายปลายทาง
  • detained: kept in a place and not allowed to leave - กักตัว ควบคุมตัวหรือฝากขัง
  • direct (adjective): going straight to a place (not "going to other places first" which is "indirect") - ตรงไป, ไม่เบี่ยงเบน
  • discuss (verb): to talk about something with somebody, especially in order to decide something - สนทนา, โต้ตอบ
  • drawer: a part of a piece of furniture such as a desk, used for keeping things in. It is shaped like a box and has a handle on the front for pulling it out - ลิ้นชัก
  • embassy: a building where a group of officials work who represent their government in a foreign country - สถานทูต
  • entry (noun): the act of going into a place - การเข้า
  • exchange (verb): to give one thing and get another - แลกเปลี่ยน
  • fake: made to look like something real in order to trick people - ที่ทำปลอม
  • familiar: well known to you, or easily recognised by you - คุ้นเคย
  • human trafficking: the trade of humans, most commonly for the purpose of sexual slavery, forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation for the trafficker or others (Source: Wikipedia) - การค้ามนุษย์
  • illegal: against the law - ผิดกฎหมาย, นอกกฎหมาย
  • immigrant: a person who has come to a different country in order to live there permanently - ผู้อพยพ, คนย้ายถิ่น
  • immigration (bureau): the government agency dealing with people entering and leaving the country and those who want to live there - สำนักงานตรวจคนเข้าเมือง
  • in custody: under the control of the police, usually in a jail - อยู่ใต้การคุ้มครอง
  • infamous (adj): well known for something bad - เสียชื่อ, น่าอับอาย, น่าขายหน้
  • initially: at first - ในเบื้องต้น
  • involvement: the act or process of taking part in something - การเกี่ยวข้อง
  • item: a single article or object - รายการ, รายการสิ่งของ
  • jail term: the length of time a person is required to spend in jail -
  • journey: travelling from one place to another, especially when they are far apart - การเดินทาง
  • land: to cause an aircraft or a bird to come down to the ground - บินลง, นำลงจอด
  • lawyer: an attorney - ทนาย
  • lengthy: very long - ที่ยืดยาว
  • location: where someone or something is - ที่ตั้ง,ทำเล
  • made their way to: went to -
  • maintain: to insist; to keep stating that something is true, even though other people do not agree or do not believe it - ยืนยัน, ยืนกราน
  • making his way to: going to -
  • material: a substance that things can be made from - วัตถุ
  • move on: to go from one place to the next place, when traveling to many places one after the other -
  • national: a citizen of a particular country - ประชาชน
  • nationality: a group of people who have the same race, language, or culture - สัญชาติ
  • obtain: to get something that you want or need, especially by going through a process that is difficult - ได้มา, ได้รับ
  • official: done by people in authority or decided by the government; announced publicly - เป็นทางการ
  • passport (noun): the official government document that people need to travel outside their own country - หนังสือเดินทาง
  • permission: allowing someone to do something - การอนุญาต,การอนุมัติ,การยินยอม
  • picked up (verb): got a person, group or thing at one place to bring them to another place - รับ (ของหรือคน)
  • pipe (noun): a long tube used for carrying water, oil, gas, etc. from one place to another place - ท่อ
  • premises: the buildings and land that a business or organisation uses - ที่ดินและสิ่งปลูกสร้าง
  • prepare (verb): put in order, get ready - เตรียม, เตรียมตัว, เตรียมพร้อม, จัดเตรียม, ตระเตรียม
  • present (verb): to give something to somebody, especially formally at a ceremony - ให้, มอบ
  • procedure: a way of doing something - ขั้นตอนการดำเนินการ
  • raid: to use force to enter a place suddenly in order to arrest people or search for something such as illegal weapons or drugs - บุกเข้าจับ, เข้าตรวจค้น
  • reasonable: fair, practical and sensible - มีเหตุผล
  • represent: to act, speak or be present officially for another person or people - เป็นตัวแทน
  • reveal: to let something become known - เปิดเผย
  • route: the roads, paths, waterways, etc., used to go from one place to another - เส้นทาง
  • savings: money that people keep or "save" for the future - เงินออม
  • scattered: spread over a large area or time period - กระจัดกระจาย
  • scissors (noun): a tool for cutting paper or cloth, that has two sharp blades with handles, joined together in the middle - กรรไกร
  • search (noun): looking somewhere or through something carefully in order to find something - การค้นหา
  • shove: to push with force - ผลัก ดัน
  • shrine: a place for worship which is holy because of a connection with a holy person or object - สถานที่บูชา
  • sparse: only present in small amounts or numbers and often spread over a large area - บางตา, มีน้อย
  • spot: to see or notice - สังเกตเห็น
  • stamp (verb): to put a mark on something using ink - ประทับตรา
  • statement: a formal written/spoken account of events that a person who has seen a crime or who has been accused of a crime gives to the police - คำให้การ
  • stay (noun): the act of living and being a place for a period of time, during a trip, for example - การอยู่,การพักอยู่
  • steel (noun): a strong hard metal that is made of a mixture of iron and carbon - เหล็ก
  • storm: to use force to enter a place and take control of it - บุกกระหน่ำ
  • suspect: a person who is thought to have committed a crime - ผู้ต้องสงสัย
  • transport: moving people or things from one place to another - การขนส่ง
  • uniform: the special set of clothes worn by all members of an organisation or a group at work, or by children at school - เครื่องแบบ
  • via: through - ผ่าน (ช่องทาง)
  • victim: someone who has been affected by a bad situation, such as a disaster, illness or an accident - เหยื่อผู้เคราะห์ร้าย
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