Police hunt for mastermind behind alleged trafficking of Rohingya to Malaysia

Police are looking for a man suspected of masterminding the trafficking of 65 Rohingya from Myanmar to Malaysia by boat. Their modified fishing boat broke down and beached on Rawi Island, off Thailand’s southernmost province of Satun on June 11th.

A police colonel, who reportedly purchased the boat in an auction held by the Customs Department and subsequently sold it to a Myanmar man, may be summoned for questioning, according to police sources. The sources added that the police handling the case had contacted the regional harbour office for information about the ownership of the vessel after an intelligence report indicated it used to be owned by a police colonel.

The sources said that the skipper of the boat, Mr. Sangkhom Papa, and five Myanmar crew members, had implicated a man, identified only as Bung Om, for offering them 100,000 baht to take the 65 Rohingya to Malaysia by boat.

All 65 Rohingya, Mr. Sangkhom and his five Myanmar crewmen were detained by park officials when their vessel landed on Rawi Island.  All the Rohingya were later sent to a shelter on the mainland for examination as to whether any of them were human trafficking victims, while the skipper and his crew were held separately for questioning.


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