20 Feb 2013
Bankok : Police and soldiers have raided six targets in Narathiwat’s Sungai Kolok district, arresting a Rohingya man together with six of his workers suspected to be involved in a gang trafficking illegal Rohingya migrants.
About 50 officers in a combined force of police and soldiers stormed targets in Sungai Kolok municipality to hunt down people involved in Rohingya trafficking about 10.30am yesterday.
In the raids, officers detained one suspect, Nuruslam, 55, a Rohingya, at a roti shop on Chuen Makka Road.
Six of his Rohingya and Myanmar workers were also apprehended.
Many small rooms had been partitioned off in the shop. Some clothes were found in the rooms but no one was staying there, security officials said.
According to investigation sources, Mr Nuruslam was involved in a syndicate of traffickers.
The arrests could pave the way for authorities to swoop on hundreds of Rohingya who are still in hiding and waiting to be transferred to Malaysia, the sources said.
However, the raids failed to track down other key trafficking suspects.
The sources said another group of Rohingya traffickers is led by a man called Yusub Ali.
He was believed to be a key suspect bringing in illegal Rohingya migrants from middlemen in Ranong province.
Two others in the group, Arwae Yanya and Romae Arwae, were thought to handle financial transactions while a man, identified only Mohammed, looks after Rohingya hidden along the border areas in Narathiwat’s Tak Bai and Sungai Kolok districts, the sources said.
About 1,700 illegal Rohingya migrants have been detained since early last month.
Of these, about 270 were taken into custody in three northeastern provinces of Ubon Ratchathani, Mukdahan and Nong Khai.
Chanchai Pathan, the imam of Ubon Ratchathani’s central mosque, and other Muslims travelled to the province’s immigration office yesterday to give food and necessities to 100 Rohingya illegals confined there.
Mr Chanchai also told the Rohingya about the regulations they must follow during their detention.
He told immigration officers to give food which complies with Islamic practices to the detained Rohingya.
Mr Chanchai said the province’s central mosque will also be open for donations for the detained Rohingya migrants.
Meanwhile, Mukdahan governor Sakonsarit Boonpradit and the province’s Red Cross staff yesterday visited 100 Rohingya illegals detained in the immigration office there.
Mr Sakonsarit called on the Rohingya to cooperate with the authorities and await government policy on further action in their cases.
The group also gave pillows and blankets to the Rohingya.
Chief of the province’s immigration office Pol Col Pallop Suriyakul said the agency will work with other organisations, including the provincial health office, to ensure the Rohingya undergo medical check-ups.
“The Rohingya will have health checks to find out which of them are ill and what diseases they have. Disease prevention is needed,” Pol Col Pallop said.