'Wanted' Rohingya trafficker arrested after 7 years in hiding

'Wanted' Rohingya trafficker arrested after 7 years in hiding

Sa-ard Udomsilp, 54, signs police documents at Hua Sai police station in Nakhon Si Thammarat province after his arrest in Samut Prakan on Thursday. (Photo supplied)
Sa-ard Udomsilp, 54, signs police documents at Hua Sai police station in Nakhon Si Thammarat province after his arrest in Samut Prakan on Thursday. (Photo supplied)

A 54-year-old southern man accused of trafficking illegal Rohingya migrants through Thailand to employers in Malaysia has been arrested after seven years on the run.

Sa-ard Udomsilp, aka Bang Ae, a native of Songkhla's Sadao district, which borders Malaysia, was arrested at a tea shop on Pradit Samosorn Road off Thepharak Road in tambon Muang Mai of Muang district, Samut Prakan, on Thursday.

Pol Maj Gen Napanwut Liamsa-nguan, commander of Provincial Police Region 8, said on Friday that Pak Phanang Court in Nakhon Si Thammarat province had approved an arrest warrant for Mr Sa-ard on May 15, 2015, for alleged transnational crime relating to human trafficking.

Mr Sa-ard was one of 59 people wanted for the trafficking of 97 illegal Rohingya migrants discovered in Hua Sai district of Nakhon Si Thammarat province in January 2015.

Police suspected Mr Sa-ard of supplying Rohingya migrants to employers in Malaysia in association with human traffickers in Myanmar, who arranged for them to travel from Myanmar and Bangladesh to Thailand by sea, then to Sadao district before being smuggled into Malaysia.

The suspect received 50,000 baht per migrant, according to Pol Maj Gen Napanwut.

Mr Sa-ard denied he was a human trafficker but admitted having bank accounts that had been used for the illicit business, the commander said.

Mr Sa-ard was also wanted under another arrest warrant issued by Na Thawi Court in Songkhla province on Sept 7, 2015, for human trafficking and detention for ransom.

He was sent to Hua Sai police station in Nakhon Si Thammarat for legal processing and prosecution.


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