NEWS:Thai Police Investigate 3 Alien-Smuggling Gangs

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Subject: NEWS:Thai Police Investigate 3 Alien-Smuggling Gangs
From: Jyothi Kanics (jkanics@igc.org)
Date: Sat Jun 12 1999 - 16:58:56 EDT


Thai Police Investigate 3 Alien-Smuggling Gangs
By Chaiyakorn Bai-ngern
The Nation (Bangkok), June 9, 1999

Police are on the trail of three gangs, two foreign and one Thai, who have
used Thailand as a base for smuggling prostitutes and foreigners to other
countries, an informed police source said yesterday.

A customer of one of the gangs, led by an Iranian man, is believed to have
fallen victim to the tourist-killing spree allegedly carried out by an
Egyptian, currently under arrest, and his accomplices.

The source said the three gangs had cooperated in smuggling people,
including Thai women, to third countries. They were also suspected of
faking passports and visas.

Police believed that many Thai women had been duped by the gangs with
promises of good jobs overseas and had ended up being forced to work as
prostitutes. The Thai gang was believed to be led by a man identified only
as Boonthum, who ran a tourist company based in Bangkok's Huay Kwang
district, the source said.

The Boonthum gang was suspected of being the biggest player in the racket
which specialised in sending women to work as prostitutes in Australia,
North America and Europe.

Boonthum was suspected of having close links with immigration police at Don
Muang and Hat Yai international airports. Police also suspected that he had
ties with officials at several Bangkok-based embassies to facilitate
foreign visas.

The source said police believed that Boonthum used women agents to get
visas for their passports. The passports were subsequently doctored, with
photos of the gang's customers substituted for the owners', and used to
smuggle them into a third country.

The second gang, led by a Pakistani man, was suspected of operating on Soi
Nana off Sukhumvit Road, the source said.

This Nana group worked closely with the Boonthum group in the smuggling
operation. The third group, led by the Iranian, was believed to be one of
the biggest mafia-type gangs working in Thailand, the source said. The gang
had helped people from the Middle East get to the Untied States using faked
Indian and Bangladeshi documents.


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