Human trafficking has become a serious problem with refugees trying to flee killing fields. And no community is suffering more than the Rohingyas of Myanmar (Burma). In southern Thailand, a Rohingya woman was crushed to death while being transported in a crammed pickup truck from Phangnga to Songkhla on Sunday. She was among 98 Rohingya migrants believed to have been smuggled into the country by a human-trafficking ring. They were arrested at a checkpoint in Hua Sai district of Nakhon Si Thammarat province early yesterday.
Thai Pol Capt Somporn Thongcheen, deputy inspector in charge of crime suppression at Hua Sai police station, said the 98 migrants were found crammed into five vehicles. There were three four-door pickups, one pickup modified as a van and a Toyota Fortuner. The drivers of three vehicles fled the scene and the other two were arrested. They were identified as Sawat Phadungchart, 29, of Ranong’s Suksamran district, and Suthipong Chuaypat, 49, of Surat Thani’s Chaiya district.
The two drivers said they had picked the Rohingya up from a coastal area of Phangnga and were taking them to Songkhla.
The migrants found in the five vehicles were later taken to Hua Sai police station.
They were then taken in small groups to Hua Sai Hospital for treatment. All had been travelling without food for two days, Pol Capt Somporn said.
Many local Muslims came to the police station to give food and clothing to the Rohingya after learning of their arrest.