Ranong human-smuggling incident

The Ranong human-smuggling incident was a human smuggling tragedy in Ranong, Thailand in 2008. Fifty-four persons suffocated to death in a tiny seafood container while being smuggled from Song Island, Myanmar, to Phuket, Thailand.

On the night of 9 April 2008, 121 Burmese workers were transported illegally by fishing boat from Song Island in Myanmar to a landing near Ranong, Thailand. All were illegal migrant workers seeking transport to Phuket, where they sought jobs as day laborers. Each had paid smugglers 6,000 baht or 10,000 baht for the journey. All 121 persons were herded into an airtight seafood refrigeration unit on the back of a truck. It measured 6 metres by 2.2 metres (20 feet by 7 feet), meaning standing room only for the passengers.

Thirty minutes into the journey, conditions in the container became stifling. The workers banged on sides of the container to alert the driver, but he did not stop and warned everyone to remain quiet so as to avoid alerting Thai police as they passed through checkpoints. He turned on the air-conditioning, but it failed after a few minutes. When the driver finally stopped on a quiet road running along the Andaman Sea 90 minutes later many, mostly women, had already collapsed. After viewing the carnage, the driver fled.

Among the dead were 36 women, one 8-year-old girl, and 17 men.

Relatives of those killed received 35,000 baht compensation for each relative who died, Suwanna Suwanjutha, director-general of the Rights and Liberties Protection Department, announced in July 2008.

On 28 December 2012 four Thais found guilty of human trafficking were sentenced to between three and ten years imprisonment for their involvement. The four were convicted of gross negligence resulting in death and of breaking immigration laws.

The truck owner, Damrong "Run" Phussadee, of Rungruengsup Ltd, was sentenced to 10 years for his involvement. Jirawat "Ko-Chun" Sopapanwaraku, who owned Choke Jaroen Pier where the migrants arrived by boat, was jailed for six years. Chalhermchai "Joe" Waritjanpleng was sentenced to nine years in prison. Ms Panchalee "Pueng" Chusung's six-year sentence was halved after she confessed.

"Three of them were granted bail of between US$13,000 and US$6,500 while they file appeals," the official said, adding that the fourth defendant was held in custody after failing to meet bail terms.

This page was last edited on 27 June 2017, at 13:28.
Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ranong_human-trafficking_incident under CC BY-SA license.

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