Bangkok (dpa) – Authorities arrested four people for alleged connections to a human smuggling camp where more than two dozen bodies were discovered last week, Thai officials said Monday.
National police chief Somyot Poompanmoung said the four local village officials are suspected to be part of a “international network.”
Somyot said the ring likely extended from Myanmar and Bangladesh through Thailand to Malaysia.
The bodies discovered in Songkhla province, 950 kilometers south of Bangkok, are believed to belong to Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, police said.
Survivors from the camp said Monday that they were regularly beaten and left to die from starvation by the traffickers because they were unable to pay ransoms demanded.
Police said the camp had recently been disbanded and that 300 Rohingyas had been moved across the border to Malaysia.
Human Rights Watch called for an independent investigation.
“The finding of a mass grave at a trafficking camp sadly comes as little surprise,” said Brad Adams, the group’s Asia director.
“The long involvement of Thai officials in trafficking means that an independent investigation with UN involvement is necessary.”
The Rohingya are an ethnic Muslim minority from western Myanmar, where they are persecuted by authorities and the Buddhist majority.