News/Thailand: Police deny turning blind eye to racket

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Subject: News/Thailand: Police deny turning blind eye to racket
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Fri May 19 2000 - 10:03:36 EDT


Police deny turning blind eye to racket
Toddler expected to come home today
Bangkok Post, May 10, 2000

Anucha Charoenpo Immigration police yesterday denied they chose not to take
action against the two human smugglers who were deported here after using a
three-year-old Thai boy to enter the United States.

Pol Gen Sant Sarutanont, who oversees the Immigration Police Bureau, said
law agencies had never received information from the US authorities about
the Indonesian man or the Chinese woman who pretended to be the parents of
Phanupong Khaisee.

Pol Gen Sant, also deputy national police chief, was responding to remarks
by Wanchai Rujanawong, of the International Affairs Office, that Suseno
Karjopranoto and Chu Mwei Long should have been detained.

Police, according to Pol Gen Sant, were only told about the fake
Singaporean passport which Mr Karjopranoto used to enter the US.

The US authorities also told them that Ms Chu, from Fujian, was accused of
being part of a prostitution gang.

Following the advice of the US authorities, the two were only charged with
illegal entry. There was no proof at the time that they were also involved
in kidnapping or human smuggling. The court therefore decided to deport Mr
Karjopranoto and grant Ms Chu bail.

Ms Chu, whose whereabouts were unknown, claimed she should not have been
detained since she used a genuine Chinese passport to enter Thailand.

She used a fake Singaporean passport to enter the US, Pol Gen Sant said.

Phanupong was expected back in Bangkok today but the Thai community in Los
Angeles was concerned he might face an uncertain future here. Pol Gen Sant
said the toddler would be placed under protective custody and later
questioned. His mother, Tubtim Huay Khwang, would also be called upon to
give another statement.

The immigration police said international human-smuggling gangs could also
be implicated in the case.

Ms Tubtim could be charged with conspiracy and Mr Karjopranoto could be
extradited back to Thailand to face charges, they said.

Pol Gen Sant said immigration police could also be charged if they were
found to have conspired with Mr Karjopranoto.

Foreign Minister Surin Pitsuwan was also concerned that Mr Karjopranoto was
not detained for questioning.

He asked the Consulate Department to co-ordinate with crime suppression
police to clamp down on passport forgers. An in-depth fact-finding
investigation was in order to avoid damaging the country's reputation
further, Mr Surin said.

His ministry would only ask the Indonesian government to extradite Mr
Karjopranoto if it was clear that he had gone into hiding.
Melanie Orhant <<morhant@igc.org>>
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