The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) yesterday arrested a Rohingya man they allege helped arrange worker registration and produce fake immigrant worker ID cards

or some 7,000 Rohingya people before sending them off as fishery workers and maids.

DSI spokesman Pol Colonel Narat Sawettanant said 63-year-old suspect Kareem Kasem was caught while registering four Rohingya persons at Chumphon’s Tha Sae district. He was charged with being a middleman to arrange immigrant workers ID cards for Rohingya and other aliens. Kasem was taken to the Criminal Court for an appearance pending trial.

Narat said this arrest was part of a DSI and National Security Centre operation to crack down on Rohingya individuals who set themselves up in Thailand and for years had been bringing Burmese Rohingyas into the country. Kasem allegedly asked Bt22,000 for an immigrant worker ID card, saying it was the cost of motivating district officials to issue it.

Narat said the investigation found 7,089 cases of such unlawful immigrant worker ID cards being issued since 2007 in Prachuap Khiri Khan’s Thab Sakae, Bang Saphan, and Bang Saphan Noi districts. Police were now gathering evidence for the arrest of more wrongdoers.

Pol Col Songsak Raksaksakul, chief of the DSI’s Foreign Affairs and Transnational Crime Bureau, said the 2005 Cabinet resolution allowing aliens in Thailand to register with the authorities had resulted in corruption in all provinces as illegal immigrants sought guarantees and registration.

Employers would scoop up such “registered immigrants” to work outside the jurisdiction of authorities so it was difficult to control and prevent crimes by these immigrants, he said.

He explained that government officials guaranteeing such workers were from many ranks, including some kamnans and village headmen, and that the ID cards were authentic but unlawfully issued through faulty information.

Most money paid for ID card issuance came from employers who would later deduct the payment from workers’ pay packets. He said 90 per cent of Rohingya people went into the fishery business, while the rest -mainly females – became housemaids.


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