Tag Archives: Ranong

54 dead in truck not trafficked or not human?

Of course, Thailand’s Department of Special Investigation (justice ministry) won’t really do anything to investigate the deaths of 54 persons in a refrigerated container truck coming from Burma–most of them women–because it has a policy of not solving human rights cases, and because according to its policeman director this is not a case of “human trafficking”. Perhaps for Pol. Col. Thawee the fine point is not the definition of “trafficking” but the definition of “human”.

(For another example of the same see: Injured by blast? Where’s your ID?)

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Dead pigs, dead Burmese, poverty & policing

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หมูตาย พม่าตาย ความจน และระบบการทำงานของตำรวจ

A former senator this week decried the treatment of the 2 million or so migrant workers now in Thailand, most of whom have come from Burma. In a Bangkok Post article, Jon Ungphakorn offered up some instances of abuse in factories and on fishing boats to support his remark that “we don’t seem to see them as human beings.”

Well, here’s another instance.

A month ago, Ko Thet Lwin Oo was a healthy young man working in the fishing industry on southern Thailand’s western seaboard. He went there not to seek his fortune, but like most others, just to make ends meet by working hard for long hours. Yet even this modest goal proved too great. On Oct. 21 the 35-year-old reportedly died of injuries in the Ranong hospital.

The wounds were not caused by accident. Three days earlier, Thet Lwin Oo had gone to speak with a seafood wholesaler whose car had been damaged when neighborhood children threw rocks. He wanted to say that his five-year-old son had not been involved. But something went wrong. According to an eyewitness, the trader first punched him, then hit him with a piece of lumber on his leg and waist, and finally, on the head.

Thet Lwin Oo was hospitalized and his wife Ma Thanda Moe made a criminal complaint on the same day. But instead of investigating, the police began pressing her to take money and stay quiet. When her husband died, the pressure and money both increased. At first she refused, but after a couple of weeks she relented and accepted 100,000 baht (around US$3000).

Why did she change her mind? She explained over the phone.

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Getting the fish back into the water

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Photo: Boy at a checkpoint in the south (Steve Sandford)

เอาปลากลับคืนสู่น้ำ (ประชาไท)

When Madi Alilatay of Yala, southern Thailand was transferred to army premises on July 23 this year he was not charged with anything. He was not held under any law, for any reason, or for any purpose. At least, that is how the report of his custody reads. Although the 26-year-old plantation worker and eight others were ostensibly detained under sweeping emergency provisions in force across three southernmost provinces, the form consists of little more than officers’ and detainees’ names. Everything else is left blank. This is emergency law in action.

As a record of how a group of nine men were deprived of their liberty, it reflects an alarming disinterest in rules and procedure among soldiers and other personnel active in the south. And it is indicative of its type. The records of others taken during this time similarly reveal only who and when; nothing of how and why.

There are at least two reasons for this.

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