Eight more graves found in Thailand trafficking investigation (dpa German Press Agency)

Bangkok (dpa) – Thai investigators have discovered eight graves in southern Thailand connected to human traffickers, officials said Wednesday.

The graves were discovered in a long-abandoned cemetery in Songkhla province and were newly dug, investigators said.

The bodies likely belonged to Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, they said.

Wednesday’s discovery comes days after police discovered a separate mass grave in the same province containing 26 bodies at an abandoned camp used by human traffickers.

Two more camps have since been discovered by a special task force.

Police suspect the traffickers at the camp moved more than 300 Rohingyas across the border as authorities closed in.

So far, authorities have arrested four people on human trafficking.

National police chief Somyot Poompanmoung said the four local village officials are suspected to be part of a “international network” stretching from Myanmar to Malaysia.

The survivors who were left to die by the traffickers because they were took weak to be moved told reporters and officials that they were regularly beaten by traffickers.

They were also denied access to food and medicine unless they paid a ransom to their captors for their release.

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.