WANG CHAO, Thailand - An indigenous Hmong family of five, including their three-month-old baby, have been found dead in Wang Chao district, located in the border province of Tak in western Thailand.
According to broadcaster Thai PBS, the bodies were recovered in the mountains some 10km from Village 11 of the Chiang Thong sub-district, with Thai police saying that bullet and knife wounds were found on the corpses.
Thai English language news outlet Thaiger identified the dead as 46-year-old Chao Manpathanakarn and his wife Jia Saengsawang, 34, and their children: 10-year-old Phiphiboon Manpathanakarn, seven-year-old Ekkapon Manpathanakarn, and three-month-old Waranya Manpathanakarn.
Thai police said that a single 9mm bullet casing was found in the vicinity of the corpses.
Officers from the Wang Chao Police Station, who are conducting the investigation, told reporters that they believe the murder of the family was committed by a human trafficking gang.
“The plantation where the bodies were discovered is located along a major route used by traffickers to smuggle illegal workers from a neighbouring country, and it is believed that the family may have witnessed the illegal activity and the murderer wanted to cover it up,” said Thaiger.
The police said they were alerted on Wednesday after the children’s grandfather became worried when they were absent from school. He went searching for them on the family’s farm.
The victims’ relatives told police that the family had left home last Saturday to work on the land. They received a call from Madam Saengsawang, who had called her sister to ask for some rice to be sent, but did not hear from her or the family again.
Thai police said that investigations are still ongoing.