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Govt mulls Malaysia suspect handover

BANGKOK: The government is considering handing over 10 suspected human traffickers to Malaysia as authorities are preparing for an official visit by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak next week.

crime, immigration, police,

Bangkok Post

Wednesday 31 August 2016, 08:56AM

After last year’s horrific discovery of mass graves of murdered or starved Rohingya victims, authorities exhumed the bodies (above) and then arrested nearly 100 suspected human traffickers, including 10 Malaysians who now may be handed over to that country. Photo: Pornprom Satrabhaya
After last year’s horrific discovery of mass graves of murdered or starved Rohingya victims, authorities exhumed the bodies (above) and then arrested nearly 100 suspected human traffickers, including 10 Malaysians who now may be handed over to that country. Photo: Pornprom Satrabhaya

Mr Najib is due to visit Thailand on Sept 9, a trip scheduled a long time ago, according to Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Mr Najib will discuss border area cooperation and several issues that have come up during past meetings, said Mr Don.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon said authorities are looking into the legal implications of sending the 10 suspects requested by Malaysia. They are allegedly involved in trafficking Rohingya into the region.

The request came yesterday (Aug 30) when Gen Prawit visited Malaysia to discuss security cooperation with Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Home Affairs Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

If there is no problem, the suspects will be handed over as the two countries have always cooperated in the past, Gen Prawit said.

He insisted the move was not part of an exchange for suspects implicated in the bomb and arson attacks in seven provinces earlier this month.

Four people were killed and 35 injured in the Aug 11-12 attacks in Trang, Prachuap Khiri Khan's Hua Hin, Phuket, Surat Thani, Phangnga, Krabi and Nakhon Si Thammarat.

Thailand has shared information about the attack suspects with Malaysia, he said, adding Malaysia was also asked to examine items linked to attacks.

National police chief Chakthip Chaijinda, who also visited Malaysia, said the suspects requested by Malaysia include Rohingya suspects, but did not provide details. Discussions touched on mobile phone SIM cards suspected of having been used to detonate bombs during this month’s attacks as well as other related equipment, he said.

Assistant police chief Suchart Theerasaawat said more information concerning the suspects, SIM cards and mobile phone equipment was obtained from the talks with Malaysian authorities. However, it cannot be confirmed if suspects hold dual nationalities.

Meanwhile, Gen Prayut said he ordered scaled-up security ahead of today’s (Aug 31) founding anniversary of Bersatu, a separatist umbrella group. He said the government will do its best to ensure security, but people should not focus too much on the event.

Also known as the Patani Malays People’s Consultative Council, Bersatu (literally, “Unity” in Bahasa Malaysia) was organised in 1989 as an umbrella group for all the separatist factions in the deep South. Among those refusing to join were the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN), currently the government’s peace partner and also a prime suspect in the Mother’s Day bombings throughout the South.

“Do not bargain with the use of violence. I must toughen law enforcement in case,” he said. “However, no intelligence has suggested there would be any trouble. Security officers are keeping an eye on the matter.”

Referring to the peace talks with groups believed to be behind unrest in the far South, which enter a new round last Friday (Aug 26), Gen Prayut said measures must be ironed out on how to deal with unrest and find a sustainable solution.

Responding to reports that intelligence gathering would be overhauled, Gen Prayut said intelligence is drawn from various sources and needs to be verified. It cannot always be verified in time, but conclusions must be drawn quickly.

Read original story here.



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