Traffickers given 167 to 320 years
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Traffickers given 167 to 320 years

The Criminal Court Wednesday sentenced three human traffickers to between 167 and 320 years each in prison in connection with the Mae Hong Son underage sex trade scandal.

Pol Sen Sgt Maj Yutthachai Thongchart is taken to the Criminal Court Wednesday.  Pattarapong Chatpattarasill

However, by law, each will serve a maximum of 50 years. All three were taken from a local prison to hear the court's ruling Wednesday.

They are Piyawan Sukma, 27, sentenced to 167 years; Piyathas Thiensuwan, 31, who was handed a term of 176 years, and Pol Sen Sgt Maj Yutthachai Thongchart, an ex-policeman attached to Ban Nam Phieng Din station in the northern province, who received 320 years.

As well as these three, five other people, who were earlier bailed, were handed prison terms in the case.

They are Mongkol Kiatpakdeepong, 31, Patthamaporn Inkaew, 32, Kanokwan Rattanapakdee, 23, Kwanhathai Rerk-udom, 40, and Kallaya Wutthikul, 41. They are all Mae Hong Son residents.

The court handed down a 19-year term to Mongkol, 12 years to Patthamaporn, 8 years to Kanokwan, 7 years to Kwanhathai and 36 years to Kallaya.

All were ordered to compensate the victim.

In its ruling, the court found all eight were guilty of colluding in sex trafficking in violation of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, the Prevention and Suppression of Prostitution Act, and the Criminal Code.

The court said all those jailed were members of a flesh trade ring who had colluded in procuring underage prostitutes for both civilians and state officials from Feb 1 to Dec 31, 2014, in Ban Nam Phieng Din in Muang district, Mae Hong Son.

They also abducted a 14-year-old girl from her parents and forced her into prostitution.

The case came to light after the girl's mother, identified only as Nampetch, sought help from the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division, an agency under the umbrella of the Department of Special Investigation (DSI).

She went to the DSI after claiming the probe that was being handled by Mae Hong Son police was moving at a snail's pace.

Authorities widened the investigation, resulting in the arrests of the eight people who received their sentences Wednesday.

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