Migrants who were found at sea on a boat stand in line as they are repatriated across the Myanmar-Bangladesh border in Rakhine in June 2015 (Source: AFP)
Hanoi (VNA) – A Thai man masterminding the trafficking of Myanmar’s Rohingya migrants has been jailed for 35 years, a Thai court said on September 1.

A spokesman of the Pak Phanang provincial court said apart from the imprisonment, Sunand Saengthong had to pay a fine of 660,000 THB (19,000 USD).

His two accomplices were sentenced to one year and six months in jail, respectively.

Sunand was arrested during a raid in January last year which uncovered 97
Rohingya migrants.

Witnesses said that money from the human trafficking gang was transferred to Sunand's bank account, adding that he was a ringleader of Rohingya trafficking in southern Thailand.

The Asian Human Rights Commission, which has followed the prosecution, said police searched five vehicles during their raid and discovered migrants crammed in, including more than 40 Rohingya.

For years, thousands of migrants, mostly Rohingya in Myanmar and Bangladesh, fled their homeland by sea, looking for work abroad, including Malaysia and Indonesia

Southern Thailand has long been known as a nexus for lucrative smuggling
networks through which persecuted Rohingya Muslims in Buddhist-majority
Myanmar, and Bangladeshi economic migrants, pass on their way to Malaysia.

Thailand's junta launched a belated crackdown in 2015 on traffickers who abandoned hundreds of victims on boats and in squalid jungle camps.

In raids last year, Thai police arrested about 100 alleged human traffickers, including a senior army general. Most of them are currently being tried in Bangkok.-VNA