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Top Thai army officer suspended over trafficking

  • Published at 02:53 pm June 11th, 2015

A top official of the Thai army has been suspended for his suspected link with human trafficking.

Lt Gen Manas Kongpaen was suspended without pay, Bankok Post quoted Thai Deputy Defence Minister Udomdej Sitabutr said Thursday.

Gen Udomdej, who is also army chief, said the suspension is to facilitate a police investigation into the case.

The Thai army chief said Lt Gen Manas had been treated properly under legal procedures.

Manas would be reinstated and paid retroactively if he is found innocent, he added.

Lt Gen Manas has been charged with human trafficking, detaining victims of human trafficking, and holding victims of trafficking for ransom in connection with the smuggling of Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants.

More than 50 people, including several local politicians and officials, were arrested after the discovery of dozens of bodies believed to be those of Myanmar's Rohingya migrants at abandoned trafficking camps near the Thai-Malaysian border. 

Before Manas' arrest warrant was issued last week, the army chief had denied the military's involvement in the trafficking syndicates.