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Thai army chief wants officers probed for people trafficking

Published on Jan 21, 2013 6:49 PM

BANGKOK (REUTERS) - Thailand's army chief on Monday called for a probe into senior army officials suspected of helping to traffic Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar through Thailand and on to a third country.

"This problem has been going on for some time. Anyone found to be involved - especially soldiers - will be prosecuted, expelled and charged with a criminal offence," General Prayuth Chan-ocha said.

Thai media on Sunday reported that a police investigation had found senior army officers, some with ranks as high as major and colonel, were involved in smuggling Rohingyas from Myanmar into Malaysia via Thailand, and that the trafficking had been going on for several years.

The United Nations estimates about 13,000 boat people, including many Rohingya, fled Myanmar and neighbouring Bangladesh last year, a sharp increase from 7,000 a year earlier.

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