News/Thailand: Hunt focuses on woman thought to be gang leader

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Subject: News/Thailand: Hunt focuses on woman thought to be gang leader
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Fri May 19 2000 - 10:26:08 EDT


Hunt focuses on woman thought to be gang leader
Phoney 'mum' skips bail after returning
The Bangkok Post, May 11, 2000

Police are after a Chinese-Thai woman suspected to be the leader of a
people-smuggling gang that used two-year-old Phanupong Khaisee to help get
through customs.

Siew Li is believed to head the gang that hired Suseno Karjopranoto, an
Indonesian, to take Chu Mwei Long, a Chinese woman from Fujian, to the
United States last month.

Mr Karjopranoto and Ms Chu pretended to be Phanupong's parents but were
arrested on arrival at Los Angeles and deported to Thailand. The boy was
placed under protective custody. The US court has delayed his return.

Mr Karjopranoto was expelled to Indonesia. Ms Chu has reportedly gone into
hiding after she was granted bail.

An immigration source said investigators had contacted Ms Chu's guarantor,
Ratchapol Robmeechai, who said he had been asked to post her bail by a man
identified only as Dom.

Mr Ratchapol refused to say how he was connected to Mr Dom.

Since that contact, Mr Ratchapol has disappeared, causing the police to
suspect he might be part of the smuggling gang. The source said telephone
records confirmed Mr Dom had called Ms Siew many times.

Ms Siew, a Chinese national, had paid a Thai man to marry her so she could
obtain Thai nationality, and was issued an identity card in mid-1999.

Police have focused the search for her in Hat Yai, Songkhla.

Meanwhile, eight Chinese nationals have been detained by immigration police
in Bangkok on suspicion they were seeking illegal entry to a third country.
Lew Fa Ming, 22, Lew Ming, 18, O yang Jinkiam, 38, Ni Fia, 26, Siem Di
Jeng, 28, Sian Jin, 21, Cheng Fang, 21, and Rin Jin, 42, were arrested ar
an apartment building in Bang Kapi.

They came to Thailand from mainland China on business visas issued by the
Thai consulate in Peking, immigration police said.

Police could not press charges because the eight Chinese had genuine
passports. However, they planned to deport the Chinese for having obtained
business visas without any known place to conduct business in Thailand.
Melanie Orhant <<morhant@igc.org>>
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