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Thai police arrest key members of human trafficking ring

Thai police arrest key members of human trafficking ringLegacy

Thai police arrested key members of a human trafficking ring that lured Thai citizens into working in call centres under false pretences, promising high salaries but instead subjecting them to forced labour and confinement.

Police Major General Saruti Kwangsopa, Chief of the Anti-Human Trafficking Division (AHTD), directed a team led by Police Colonel Pattanapong Sripinpraw and Police Lieutenant Colonel Worapol Lertwiriyapong to apprehend a 31 year old man, Teerapon, in front of a condominium on Pracha Uthit Road, Huai Khwang district, Bangkok. Teerapon was wanted under an arrest warrant issued by the Criminal Court on June 20, for conspiring to commit human trafficking by coercion, fraud, and misuse of power for personal gain.

Police also arrested a 21 year old woman named Aranya in front of a house in Wiang Chai district, Chiang Rai province. Additionally, 31 year old Nattanicha was charged with the same offences while already in custody at the Central Women’s Correctional Institution in Chatuchak district.

In October and November last year, the Myanmar government, in collaboration with Chinese police, conducted operations to dismantle Chinese-operated call centre gangs in Laukkai, Myanmar. During these operations, 266 Thai victims were rescued and repatriated, undergoing screening and separation processes under the National Referral Mechanism (NRM).

Police Colonel Pattanapong Sripinpraw was assigned to investigate a call centre group led by a Chinese individual named Fei Yang, involving 11 suspects. Among them were four Thai HR personnel who deceived Thai citizens into working as chat admins with promises of high monthly salaries ranging from 25,000 to 50,000 baht. Once the victims crossed the border, they were confined and coerced into working for the call centre, engaging in hybrid scams that involved romance and investment fraud.

Teerapon, accused of being Fei Yang’s assistant, denied the allegations, claiming he was merely working in an entertainment venue in Laukkai, where he met and started dating a Chinese man. He asserted that his role was limited to being an interpreter and had no involvement in the call centre operations.

Aranya, responsible for HR duties, used a fake Facebook profile to recruit Thai citizens. She admitted to recruiting individuals but denied any knowledge of the forced labour or call centre scams. Similarly, Nattanicha, who remained in custody, admitted to recruiting workers but denied awareness of any coercion.

Following their interrogations, the suspects were handed over to the investigators at Division 2 of the Anti-Human Trafficking Division for further legal proceedings, reported KhaoSod.

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