Pattaya Daily News

23 October 2009 :: 18:10:22 pm 8572

Thai Gangs Increasingly Targeting Burmese Migrant Workers

October 23, 2009, [PDN]: Thai gangs, some merely teenagers, have been increasingly preying on defenceless Burmese Mon migrant workers in various southern Thai provinces. Recent reports to the Independent Mon News Agency (IMNA) indicate an increase in robberies, rape, intimidation, extortion, protection racketeering and even murder.
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The unscrupulous Thai gangs frequently choose paydays as the most likely time for their attacks when the Mon migrants are at their most vulnerable, en route to the local market to buy their weekly provisions, or when returning home. Afraid to go to the police, victims must be stoical in the face of adversity for fear of exacerbating the violence by gangs, intent on revenge.

In the most recent incident, on October 22, in the Hat Yai district in Trang Province, a worker who had just been paid went to the local market, where a gang of Thai teenagers spotted him. The motorcycle gang followed the migrant as he was returning home on his motorbike, intercepted him and robbed him at knife-point .

In a similar incident, earlier, where a migrant rubber worker, by the name of Nai Mynit Aung, had just been paid Bt7,000 and again gone off to market with his wife. Another Thai teenage gang had once again followed them home on their bike and stopping them, seized his wife, searched her and stole Bt440 baht and her mobile phone. However, this time the migrant couple were relatively lucky, because the wife had hidden the majority of their money in her bra, which the gang didn’t find. However, this was probably only because of the timely interception of the robbery by the police, who had been called by a Thai good Samaritan neighbour witnessing the incident. The gang had disappeared on the arrival of the police.

Extortion rackets are rife, too, apparently. In a case involving the same migrant worker, Nai Mynit Aung, and 8 of his friends, which had been going on for 8 months, the sum the Thai gangs demanded was only Bt50 monthly, per head, but if the 9 migrants concerned refused to pay, the gang followed them to their homes and proceeded to harass their families. After the previous robbery incident, the Thai neighbour had urged the victim to report both matters to the police. However, the migrant worker told IMNA on October 16, that if he did so, the gang, who no doubt had taken note of his motorbike registration number, would retaliate. He said he had heard rumours from his compatriot friends that a Thai gang who had been reported to the police by another Mon victim had come and killed the migrant family concerned and he didn’t want his family to suffer the same fate.

Mi Hlaing, the wife of Nai Mynit Aung, told IMNA that she had come to live in Hat Yai from Phanga Province, where she had lived with her family, after an attempted rape by a 50-year-old Thai man.

Mi Mee, another Mon worker from Patana, also in Southern Thailand, asserts that over the last three weeks, Thai gangs have stolen a Bt2000 gold necklace, and three mobile phones from migrant workers in the area, as well as allegedly raping of a local migrant woman.

The migrant workers maintain they have to suffer in silence for fear not only of the retaliation and vindictiveness of Thai gangs, but also the very real likelihood that they would lose their jobs and be repatriated if they protested at their fate.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Crime News

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