News/US: Thai Prime Minister Asks For Probe

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Subject: News/US: Thai Prime Minister Asks For Probe
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Tue May 16 2000 - 07:57:23 EDT


Thai Prime Minister Asks For Probe
May 7, 2000

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) Thai Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai has instructed
the Foreign Ministry to investigate the case of a two-year-old Thai boy who
was apparently used as a decoy in a scheme to smuggle people into the
United States.

The boy and a man and woman pretending to be his parents flew into Los
Angeles on April 11. Inspectors determined that the adults' Singaporean
passports were phony.

The Singaporean man and Chinese woman were deported to Thailand but the
boy, Khaisri, is being temporarily held in the United States. He was flown
into United States under a false name.

"I have instructed the Foreign Ministry to get me the truth about this
matter, how the boy was smuggled out, whether this is an isolated case and
are there similar cases in the past," Chuan was quoted saying by the
newspaper The Nation on Sunday.

U.S. authorities believe the boy was used as a prop to give the impression
the people with whom he was traveling were a family on vacation.

Suspicion that his natural mother was in on the scheme has delayed his
return to Thailand while the issue of custody is debated. The mother has
denied any wrongdoing.

Thai authorities have already deported the man, identified as Suseno
Karjorpanoto of Indonesia, who was convicted on April 25 of using a fake
passport.

The deported Chinese woman, identified as Sue Mei Long, 22, is free on bail
court and is expected to report to criminal court on May 15, police said.

A Malaysian man living in Bangkok who may have supplied the fake passports
was arrested Friday, Thai newspapers reported.

Chang Chan Sing was in possession of several fake passports and a large
quantity of bootleg video CDs, the Bangkok Post newspaper reported Sunday.
It said he denied knowing the two who traveled with the toddler to the
United States.

Thai immigration police will investigate whether their fellow officers were
involved in the smuggling scheme, an investigator said Saturday.

Melanie Orhant <<morhant@igc.org>>
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