Senior army officier implicated in human trafficking | Bangkok Post: learning

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Manas charged on 13 counts of trafficking-related offences (Updated Thursday)

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Army adviser Lt Gen Manas Kongpan has been charged on 13 counts on trafficking and related offences after eight hours of questioning lasting until midnight in which he stood firm in maintaining innocence.

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Thursday noon update

Lt Gen Manas Kongpan, second left, arrives in Songkhla where he was detained and questioned for eight hours on Wednesday night. He was then formally charged with human trafficking offences. WICHAYANT BOONCHOTE

Here is the latest from the Bangkok Post's Wichayant Boonchote reporting from Songkhla

Army 'trafficker' Manas charged on 13 counts

Wichayant Boonchote

Army adviser and suspected human trafficker Manas Kongpan, 58, stood firm in maintaining his innocence during a marathon questioning session overnight, but was later charged on 13 counts on Thursday.

After his surrender at the police headquarters in Bangkok on Wednesday, Lt Gen Manas was immediately taken to Hat Yai police station in the southern province of Songkhla for interrogation. A forward command post of the regional police branch is housed there.

His questioning lasted from 4pm to midnight. Two teams, police interrogators and public prosecutors, took turns questioning him over the eight hours.

Lt Gen Manas insisted he had nothing to do with the trafficking of Bangladeshi and Rohingya migrants from Bangladesh and Myanmar through southern Thailand to Malaysia.

Army legal officers and soldiers from the 42nd military circle in Hat Yai observed the questioning.

The three-star general was then formally charged on 13 counts, the same as the other 51 suspects in the southern human trafficking case who are in police custody.

The charges include trafficking in persons including children, smuggling of aliens into the country, detaining them, holding them for ransom, committing transnational crime, assaulting victims, and concealing their bodies.

Police interrogators denied his request for temporary release. He was kept in an interrogation room at the Hat Yai police station because police have a deal with the military and not put a military suspect in uniform in a cell.

On Thursday police were to seek permission from the local Na Thawi court to extend the general's period of detention.

Police have 84 suspects in the human trafficking case so far, with 52 of them now in custody and 32 others still at large.

Authorities are prosecuting them after finding many live and dead Muslim migrants, graves and detention camps in a border mountain range in Songkhla province over a month ago. Malaysian authorities have also found graves on their side close to the border and they are being examined.

Thursday morning update

Here are a few more details from this morning's Bangkok Post

Police have arrested and opposed bail for accused human trafficker Army Lt Gen Manas Kongpan but Defence Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwon (inset) says the three-star general with the chequered career and an official job title of "expert" is a force for good. PATIPAT JANTHONG

Senior army adviser Lt Gen Manas Kongpan has denied all the allegations, said national deputy police chief Aek Angsananont.

According to the deputy police chief, Lt Gen Manas will be held in police custody for 48 hours, after which police will have to seek permission from the Na Thawi court (in Songkhla) to keep him in detention.

The suspect may ask to be released on bail, using his army rank as a guarantee, said Pol Gen Aek, adding that Lt Gen Manas had the right to submit his request directly to police investigators.

Meanwhile, Lt Gen Manas has received some welcome words of support from Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon.

"As far as I know, Lt Gen Manas has always been hardworking and done a good job. He has worked to achieve many things for Thailand," Gen Prawit said.

Lt Gen Manas's alleged misconduct was unrelated to his military work, Gen Prawit said.

Wednesday afternoon update

Lt Gen Manas Kongpan arrives at National Police headquarters before noon this morning where he formally surrendered to face charge in being involved in human trafficking. PATIPAT JANTHONG

Lt-Gen Manas surrenders to police on trafficking charges

Lt Gen Manas Kongpan, wearing his army uniform, arrived at national police headquarters in Bangkok shortly before noon today to turn himself in to faces charges for his alleged involvement in the human trafficking of Rohingya.

He was questioned for about 10 minutes before he was taken away. He is reportedly now on his way to Songkhla where his arrest warrant was issued.

Lt Gen Manas Kongpan, "army expert", told reporters he was on his way to the Padang Besar police station to give himself up yesterday, but then failed to show up. Police allege the three-star general is involved in human trafficking. POST TODAY

Wednesday update

Deputy national police chief Pol Gen Aek Angsananont has just announced that Lt Gen Manas Kongpan has promised to turn himself in this morning – at 11am.

Here's a Wednesday morning update from our military affairs reporter.

Manas fails to turn himself in

Army officer vows to fight trafficking rap

Wassana Nanuam

The army lieutenant general wanted by police for his alleged involvement in the human trafficking of Rohingya has said he is innocent and is prepared to defend himself in court.

However, as of early Wednesday, Lt Gen Manas Kongpan, a senior expert in the army who now has a warrant out for his arrest, had still not turned himself in to police despite telling reporters Tuesday afternoon he was on his way to Padang Besar police station.

"I'd like to ask society not to judge me as though I'm already guilty. They should weigh information from both sides and wait until the court judgement," he said in a telephone interview.

"I beg for justice and I'm willing to cooperate with authorities. No matter what the court ruling is, I will respect it."

He denied rumours of meeting with army commander Udomdej Sitabutr Tuesday, saying instead that he was travelling to Padang Besar police station in Songkhla province's Sadao district.

According to Nakhon Si Thammarat police commander Pol Maj Gen Kiatipong Khaosam-ang, Lt Gen Manas was earlier ordered to remain at the 4th Region army headquarters in Nakhon Si Thammarat province.

Lt Gen Manas is in the process of turning himself in, said deputy national police chief Pol Gen Aek Angsananont.

National police chief Somyot Poompunmuang said he was confident Lt Gen Manas would not attempt to flee the country to avoid prosecution because he is a high-ranking military official.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha affirmed he will let the investigation run its course without interfering.

Tuesday' story

Warrant out for army 'trafficker'

Bank details found in raid implicate Manas

POST REPORTERS

Army chief Udomdej Sitabutr APICHART JINAKUL

The army is seeking to suspend from duty a senior soldier who faces an arrest warrant over his alleged involvement in the trafficking of Rohingya migrants to jungle camps in the South.

The suspension request was made by army chief Udomdej Sitabutr to the Defence Ministry.

Gen Udomdej announced his request Monday, after learning the Na Thawi Provincial Court in Songkhla on Sunday approved a warrant to arrest Lt Gen Manas Kongpan, a senior army expert, on charges of human trafficking, detaining victims of human trafficking, and holding victims of trafficking for ransom.

Police and the army have been sharing information on the matter for some time, Gen Udomdej said.

"I have made it clear that any army officers who have breached laws must be dealt with," the army chief said.

However, the claim of close cooperation is new. On May 19, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha appeared to be angry about allegations that a military officer was behind the southern trafficking. He said he was unaware of any such accusation, and demanded that reporters give him the name of the suspect.

While the strong denials succeeded in quashing most media reports of military involvement, investigations were well under way by a police task force formed to fight trafficking.

Evidence suggesting the senior army officer's involvement was discovered during a raid at a suspect's home in Ranong's Muang district. The evidence included four receipts for transfers to a bank account belonging to the general and a document with the bank account details and the general's name written on it.

Now that the warrant has been issued, Defence Ministry regulations stipulate the soldier must be suspended from duty, said Gen Udomdej, who is also deputy defence minister.

Lt Gen Manas could also be banned from visiting areas where his alleged crimes took place if he is deemed likely to impede police investigations, he said.

Gen Udomdej said he had been aware of police investigations into Lt Gen Manas for some time, but did not reveal them so police could gather enough information to prosecute him.

"If Lt Gen Manas is guilty, the army will give no assistance to him and will conduct a probe to seek further disciplinary punishment," the army chief said.

A panel will be set up from the 4th Army region to carry out the investigation, he said, adding that if Lt Gen Manas is involved in the crimes, he must be dismissed as a state official.

Meanwhile, Lt Gen Manas told a military reporter, who reached him by telephone Monday, that he was unaware of the warrant for his arrest. He declined to answer any other questions.

National police chief Somyot Pumpunmuang said Lt Gen Manas, 58, was charged with colluding with more than three people to commit human trafficking, helping foreigners to enter the country illegally, detaining victims of human trafficking, and demanding ransoms.

The crimes, the police chief said, took place in Bangladesh, Myanmar, the southern Thai provinces of Phangnga, Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phatthalung and Satun, and temporary camps on the Kaew mountain range in tambon Padang Besar in Songkhla's Sadao district, as well as Malaysia.

The trafficking occurred between November 2012 and May 2015, he added.

Deputy national police chief Ek Angsananon, who is responsible for investigations into the trafficking of Rohingya, said Lt Gen Manas had contacted police to surrender.

Learn from listening

Click "play" to listen to Manas charged on 13 counts of trafficking-related offences (Updated Thursday) and "Download" to keep this file for educational purpose.

Vocabulary:

adviser (noun): a person who gives advice, especially somebody who knows a lot about a particular subject - ที่ปรึกษา

affirm : to say or show that something is true - ยืนยัน, รับรอง

alien : a foreigner; someone who is not a citizen of the country where they are living or staying - คนต่างด้าว

allegations (noun): accusations - ข้อกล่าวหา

allege : to say that something is true or that someone has done something wrong, even though this has not been proved - อ้าง, กล่าวหา

alleged : claimed to be true although not yet proven; claimed to have done something wrong but not yet proven - ที่ถูกกล่าวหา

appear : to seem - ดูเหมือนจะ, ดูเหมือนว่า

approve : to give official permission - อนุมัต

arrest warrant : a document signed by a judge allowing police to arrest someone - หมายจับ

assault (verb): to attack someone violently, either physically or in some other way, e.g., smell - ทำร้ายร่างกาย, ทำร้าย

assistance : help; aid - ความช่วยเหลือ

authority (noun): a person or government agency who has the power to make decisions or enforce the law - เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ

avoid : to try to prevent something from happening - หลีกเลี่ยง

aware (adj): knowing that something exists, or to have knowledge or experience of a particular thing - ทราบ, รับรู้

bail : money that is given to a court when someone is allowed to stay out of prison until their trial. If they do not return for the trial, the court keeps the money  - เงินประกัน; การประกันตัว

banned : officially not allowed to do something - ถูกห้าม

beg : to ask somebody for something especially in an anxious way because you want or need it very much - อ้อนวอน, ขอร้อง

border : the official line separating two areas, regions or countries - เขตแดน อาณาเขต

branch : an office or shop representing a large company or organisation in a particular area - สาขา

breach (verb): to fail to follow a law, rule or agreement - ละเมิดกฎข้อบังคับ, ละเมิดสัญญา

career : a job or series of related jobs that you do, especially a profession that you spend a lot of your working life in - อาชีพ

cell : a small room where a prisoner is kept - ห้องขังนักโทษ

charge : to accuse someone officially of committing a crime - ตั้งข้อกล่าวหา

charge  : an official statement accusing someone of committing a crime - ข้อกล่าวหา

chequered (adj): a person’s past, etc. that contains both successful and not successful periods - มีการเปลี่ยนแปลงทั้งดีและไม่ดี

claim (noun): saying that something is true although it has not been proved and other people may not believe it - ข้ออ้าง ข้อกล่าวหา

collude : to act together secretly or illegally in order to deceive or cheat someone - สมรู้ร่วมคิด

command post (noun): the place from which a military unit is commanded - กองบัญชาการ

commander : the head of an army or army unit - ผู้บังคับบัญชา

commit : to do something wrong or illegal - ทำความผิด

conceal : to hide something  - ซุก ซ่อน

conduct : to do something in an organised way; to carry out — - ลงมือทำ, ดำเนิน, ปฏิบัติ

confident : certain; having trust in people, plans, or the future - มั่นใจ

cooperate : to work with other people to achieve a result that is good for everyone involved - ร่วมมือกัน

cooperation : a situation in which people or organisations work together to achieve a result that will benefit all of them - การร่วมมือกัน

court : the place where legal trials take place and where crimes, etc. are judged - ศาล

crime : an illegal activity or action - อาชญากรรม

custody : the state of being in prison or under police control, especially while waiting for trial - การกักขัง, การคุมขัง

deal (noun): a formal agreement, especially in business or politics - ข้อตกลง, การตกลงซื้อขาย, การซื้อขาย

deal with : to take action to solve a problem - รับมือกับ, จัดการกับ

decline : to say politely that you will not accept something or do something - ปฏิเสธ

deemed : considered - เห็นว่า ถือว่า

Defence Minister : the person in the cabinet in charge of the Ministry of Defence which oversees the armed forces - รัฐมนตรีว่าการกระทรวงกลาโหม

Defence Ministry (noun): the ministry that oversees a country’s armed forces - กระทรวงกลาโหม

defend : to say things to support someone or something - ปกป้อง

denial : a refusal to admit something; saying that you did not do something you were accused of - การปฎิเสธ, การไม่ยอมรับ

denied (verb): said that something is not true or did not happen - ปฏิเสธ

deputy : a person whose rank is immediately below that of the leader of an organisation - รอง

details : small facts or pieces of information relating to a situation - รายละเอียด

detain (verb): to keep someone in a place and not allowing them to leave - กักตัว ควบคุมตัวหรือฝากขัง

disciplinary : related to the punishment of people who do not obey the rules - การลงโทษเนื่องจากการฝ่าฝืนวินัย หรือระเบียบ

document : a paper or set of papers with written or printed information, especially of an official type  - เอกสาร

duty : something that you have to do because it is part of your job, or something that you feel is the right thing to do - หน้าที่, ความรับผิดชอบ

evidence : facts statements or objects that help to prove whether or not someone has committed a crime - หลักฐาน

expert : someone who has a particular skill or who knows a lot about a particular subject - ผู้เชี่ยวชาญ

extend : to add more time - ยืดออกไป

flee : to leave a place or person quickly because you are afraid of possible danger - หนี อพยพ

form : to start to exist and develop; to make something start to exist and develop - พัฒนาขึ้น, สร้างขึ้น

grave : a place in the ground where a dead person is buried - หลุมศพ, หลุมฝังศพ

guarantee (noun): a promise or certainty that something is correct, will be done or will happen - คำรับรอง, การประกัน

guilty : having been decided by a court of law that you committed the crime your were accused of - มีความผิด

headquarters : the place where an organisation or company has its main offices - กองบัญชาการ

high-ranking : senior; important - ที่มียศสูง, ที่อยู่ชั้นสูง

illegally : in a way that is against the law - อย่างผิดกฎหมาย

impede : to delay or stop the progress of something - กีดขวาง, กั้นขวาง

implicate : to show or suggest that someone is involved in something illegal or morally wrong   - โยงใยถึง, เกี่ยวพันกับ

innocence : the condition of not having done anything wrong or illegal - ความบริสุทธิ์

innocent : not having done anything wrong - บริสุทธิ์

insist : to keep saying very firmly that something is true - ยืนกราน ยืนยัน

interfere : to deliberately become involved in a situation and try to influence the way that it develops, although you have no right to do this - แทรกแซง

interrogation : asking someone a lot of questions in order to get information - การสอบถาม, การซักถาม

interrogator : a person who asks someone a lot of questions in order to get information - ผู้สอบถาม, ผู้ซักถาม

interview : a meeting (often a public one) at which a person is asked questions in order to find out their opinions, experiences, etc. - การสัมภาษณ์

investigation : the process of trying to find out all the details or facts about something in order to discover who or what caused it or how it happened - การสอบสวน, การตรวจสอบหาข้อเท็จจริง

investigator : someone whose job is to officially find out the facts about something - ผู้สอบสวน, ผู้สำรวจ, ผู้ตรวจสอบ

involved (verb): taking part or having a role in something - เกี่ยวข้อง, มีบทบาท

involvement : the act or process of taking part in something - การเกี่ยวข้อง

issue : to officially announce or give out - ออก, ออกประกาศ, ออกคำสั่ง

judge : to form an opinion about somebody/something, based on the information you have - ตัดสิน

judgement : the decision of a court or a judge; a verdict - พิพากษา

justice : a fair result or punishment from a court of law - ความยุติธรรม

legal : relating to the law or lawyers - เกี่ยวกับกฎหมาย

likely : probable or expected - น่าจะเป็นไปได้

maintain : to insist; to keep stating that something is true, even though other people do not agree or do not believe it - ยืนยัน, ยืนกราน

marathon : of something that takes a long time to accomplish - ที่ยาวนาน

matter : a situation or subject which is being dealt with or considered - เรื่อง, ภารกิจ, งาน

meanwhile : at the same time - ในเวลาเดียวกัน

media : radio, television, newspaper, the Internet, considered as a group - สื่อ

migrant : someone who travels to another place or country in order to find work (an immigrant is someone who comes to live in a country from another country) - ผู้อพยพ, คนงานต่างถิ่น

misconduct : unacceptable or bad behaviour by someone in a position of authority or responsibility - การประพฤติผิด

no matter what : always true, whatever the situation is - ไม่ว่าในกรณีใด, มิไย

observe : to watch or study someone or something with care - สังเกตการณ์

oppose : to disagree with or not approve of a plan or policy - คัดค้าน

permission : allowing someone to do something - การอนุญาต,การอนุมัติ,การยินยอม

probe : an attempt to find out the truth about an issue, problem or accident, made by an official group (or by the media); an investigation - การตรวจสอบ  การสอบสวน

process : a series of actions that you take in order to achieve a result - แนวทางปฏิบัติ, กระบวน, วิธีการ

prosecute : to officially accuse someone of a crime and ask a court of law to judge them - ดำเนินคดี

prosecution : the process of accusing someone of a crime and asking a court of law to judge them - การดำเนินคดีตามกฎหมาย

prosecutor : a lawyer whose job is to prove in court that someone accused of a crime is guilty - อัยการ

quash : to stop something from continuing - ปราบ, กำจัด (ข่าวลือ, กรต่อต้าน) ยกเลิก

raid (noun): using force or legal authority to enter a place suddenly in order to arrest people or search for something such as illegal weapons or drugs - การเข้าตรวจค้น

range (noun): mountain range, many mountains and hills that cover a large area - เทือกเขา, แนวเขา, แนวเขาที่ต่อเนื่องกันไปเป็นพืด

rank : someone’s official position in the armed forces, police, fire services, etc. - ยศ, ตำแหน่ง

ransom : the amount of money that someone wants to be paid before they will let a person go or give back a valuable object - เงินค่าไถ่

rap (noun): (informal) a criminal charge - ข้อกล่าวหา

receipt : a piece of paper which proves that money, goods or information have been received - ใบเสร็จ, ใบรับ

regulations : official rules that control the way that things are done - ระเบียบปฏิบัติ

release : allowing someone/something to go free - การปล่อย

remain (verb): to stay in the same place; to not leave - ยังอยู่, พักอยู่, รออยู่

reporter : someone whose job is to write articles or make broadcasts about events in the news - ผู้สื่อข่าว, นักข่าว

respect : to accept the importance of someone's rights or customs - เคารพ

responsible for : to have a duty to do something - มีความรับผิดชอบ

reveal : to let something become known - เปิดเผย

ruling  (noun): a judgement; a decision by a court of law - คำตัดสิน คำชี้ขาด

rumour : a piece of information, or a story, that people talk about, but that may not be true - ข่าวลือ

run its course : to develop or continue in a natural way and gradually end -

senior : with a high rank or position - อาวุโส

share : tell other people about something that you know -

show up : to arrive at a place - แสดงตัว, ปรากฏตัว

smuggling : secretly and illegally taking goods or people into or out of a country or place - การลักลอบ

stand firm : to refuse to change your opinion or policy despite pressure from other people -

stipulate : to state exactly how something must be or must be done - ระบุ, ระบุเงื่อนไข

submit : to formally give something to someone so that they can make a decision about it - ยื่น เสนอ (เอกสาร) ให้พิจารณา

surrender : to give yourself up - ยอมจำนน

suspect : a person who is thought to have committed a crime - ผู้ต้องสงสัย

suspend (verb): to not allow to participate or to do a job for a period of time ระงับ - ให้พักงาน

task force : a group of people who are brought together to do a particular job, or a large military group who have a military aim to achieve - คณะทำงานเฉพาะกิจ, กองกำลังเฉพาะกิจ

temporary : done or used for only a limited period of time, i.e., not permanent - ชั่วคราว

trafficking : dealing in illegal goods, like drugs, weapons or in illegally moving humans or animals from one place to another - การค้าสิ่งที่ผิดกฎหมาย

transfer : moving someone or something from one place, vehicle, person or group to another - การย้าย

transnational : involving more than one country; present in more than one country - ข้ามชาติ

turn yourself in : to give yourself up to the police - ยอมจำนน

unaware : not understanding or realising something - ซึ่งไม่รู้ตัวมาก่อน

under way (adj): happening now, currently happening - กำลังดำเนินต่อไป

uniform : the special set of clothes worn by all members of an organisation or a group at work, or by children at school - เครื่องแบบ

victims  : people who are killed injured or harmed in some way from an accident, natural disaster, crime, etc. - เหยื่อผู้เคราะห์ร้าย

vow : to make a formal and serious promise to do something or to promise what you say is true - สาบาน, ปฏิญาณ

warrant (noun): a legal document that is signed by a judge and gives the police authority to do something - หมาย

weigh : to consider something carefully before making a decision - ชั่งน้ำหนัก, พิจารณา

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