Civic groups call for human trafficking probe against PM

Civic groups call for human trafficking probe against PM

Representatives of five civic groups submit a petition to Pol Gen Sereepisuth Temeeyaves (second from right), chairman of the House committee on corruption and misconduct prevention and suppression, on Thursday. (Photo: @CPDThai Facebook page)
Representatives of five civic groups submit a petition to Pol Gen Sereepisuth Temeeyaves (second from right), chairman of the House committee on corruption and misconduct prevention and suppression, on Thursday. (Photo: @CPDThai Facebook page)

Five civic groups on Thursday petitioned the House committee on corruption and misconduct prevention and suppression to carry out an investigation on Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and eight other officials in connection with a human trafficking case.

The case involved Pol Maj Gen Paween Pongsirin, former deputy commissioner of Provincial Police Region 8, and Lt Gen Manas Kongpan, senior army adviser. It was raised during the past general debate in parliament.

Pol Maj Gen Paween, who headed an investigation into the smuggling of Rohingya migrants into Thailand in 2015, had ended up seeking asylum in Australia, Campaign for Democracy secretary-general Metha Maskhao said on Thursday.

The group submitted the petition on behalf of five organisations, including the Thai Action Committee for Democracy in Burma.

Lt Gen Manas, who was a suspect in the human trafficking case, died while in prison, Mr Metha added.

"We requested the House committee to question Gen Prayut in his capacity as the chief of the police and security authorities in the handling of Rohingya migrants and human trafficking," he said.

The other eight officials in the petition were Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon in his capacity as the Police commission chair; Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda; former national police chief Chakthip Chaijinda; former national police chief Somyot Poompanmoung; former deputy police chief Jumpol Manmai; current army chief Narongphan Jitkaewtae, current national police chief Suwat Jangyodsuk and current 4th Army Region commander Kriangkrai Srilak

Mr Metha said the groups also wanted the committee to launch another investigation on the director-general of the Department of Corrections to determine whether Lt Gen Manas was murdered to silence him.

Lt Gen Manas was handed a 27-year jail term before it was later increased to 82 years for his role in trafficking Rohingya migrants.

He died of a heart attack at the Medical Correctional Hospital in June 2021 while serving his sentence.

Pol Maj Gen Paween's 2015 investigation into a Rohingya trafficking network in the South led to the prosecution of dozens of people.

The officer, however, decided to quit the force and fled to Australia after his request for a review of his transfer order to the deep South was rejected by Pol Gen Chakthip.


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