Alleged trafficking boss's properties searched

Alleged trafficking boss's properties searched

Police and soldiers search five locations linked to Padang Besar mayor Banjong Pongpol, believed to be a mastermind of the human trafficking ring. The officers take Mr Banjong, who turned himself in to police on Friday, to search his house on May 9. (Photo by Wichayant Boonchote)
Police and soldiers search five locations linked to Padang Besar mayor Banjong Pongpol, believed to be a mastermind of the human trafficking ring. The officers take Mr Banjong, who turned himself in to police on Friday, to search his house on May 9. (Photo by Wichayant Boonchote)

SONGKHLA — Authorities on Saturday searched five locations linked to an influential Songkhla politician to find more clues about human trafficking networks.

Pol Lt Gen Montri Potranand, commander of Provincial Police Region 9, led the search by more than 200 police, soldiers and officials from agencies including the Anti-Money Laundering Office and the Revenue Department.

They were accompanied by Padang Besar mayor Banjong Pongpol, believed to be a mastermind of the human trafficking ring, who had turned himself in to police on Friday.

Authorities took Mr Banjong to his house on Taksin Mongkholkhet Road in tambon Padang Besar of Sadao district where some documents were seized, Thai media reported.

The officers later took him to search his luxury resort, The Mayor Resort, in Padang Besar. They looked for financial, land and tax payment documents as well as documents related to the number of illegal Rohingya migrants smuggled into the southern border province.

The resort, located on an 11-rai plot, is worth about 30 million baht.

The three other locations were Mr Banjong's office at the Padang Besar municipal building and the houses of two suspected members of the trafficking network.

Authorities today will take Mr Banjong to the Na Thawi Provincial Court to seek approval to detain him pending further investigation.

A total of 117 illegal migrants, mostly from Bangladesh, have been found near Khao Kaew mountain in adjacent areas of Hat Yai and Rattaphum districts of Songkhla during the past three days.

Officers have taken the migrants, 110 males and seven females, to a temporary shelter at the Rattaphum district office compound for questioning.

A total of 117 illegal migrants, 110 males and seven females, take a rest at a temporary shelter at the Rattaphum district office compound in Songkhla for questioning on May 9. (Photo by Wichayant Boonchote)


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