Thai officials accused of forging Burmese migrant cards

Thai officials accused of forging Burmese migrant cards

KANCHANABURI, THAILAND — Thai police will ask the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) to investigate 15 people, including eight local government officials, suspected of forging more than 400 identification cards for stateless migrants.

District chief Sattha Khachapalayuk on Saturday filed a complaint with a district police investigator, Pol Col Nakhon Pakpairoj, seeking criminal and disciplinary action against a group of civilians and civil servants after a gang produced fake ID cards for stateless people, mostly from Burma, officially known as Myanmar.

Among the accused are three deputy district chiefs in Kanchanaburi and one from Suphan Buri. They are Sai Yok deputy district chief Nattharinee Sabaiyingdondej, Phanom Thuan deputy district chiefs Weena Thanarak and Thanaporn Sawarngkaew, and Doembang Nangbuat deputy district chief Supida larblua. Others include Kanchanaburi provincial officers, a village chief and civilians.

The petition was filed along with a 5,000-page dossier, which was compiled by Mr Sattha who started an investigation into suspected irregularities in 2006 when he first came into office.

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Pol Col Nakhon said the law required police to accept the complaint and forward the case to the PACC within a month as it affected public officials of lower than C-8 rank. Other issues of criminal behaviour would be followed up by the police later.

He said the evidence had not yet been submitted to the anti-graft agency pending additional examination of the documents.

In 2005-06, the cabinet resolved to allow stateless or undocumented persons who lived in Thailand before October 1999 to be recognised in the registration system. They would have an identification card designating them as a “person without status in registration”, which would be valid for 10 years.

Mr Sattha said the ID cards are due to expire this year and he expected more incidents of falsification of documents as opportunists and gangs are already waiting.

He said the documents he gave to police clearly showed 421 cards had been illegally issued although he believed there might have been tens of thousands of forged ID cases in Kanchanaburi alone. He urged officials to handle the matter sensitively and thoroughly scrutinise the ID cards when renewal time came around. He said considerable damage had already been done to the state.

 

This article was originally published in the Bangkok Post on 8 February 2015.

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