MAFIA ROBS MON GIRL AT MARKET PLACE
(Kao Wao / Bangkok, March 13, 2003)
A member of the Thai Mafia attacked a
Mon girl at local Maharchai daily market on her way to shopping,
a worker said.
Miss Ei Ree age 17 was walking toward
to the market in the evening when a young men approached her
and took her gold-chain from her neck then ran away, reported
a local Mon worker.
“It happens very often and almost
every week,” he added.
According to a Mon migrant worker who
asked not to be identified for security reasons, local Mafia
(“Nak Lin” in Thai) dress as policemen and attack
migrant workers, some Thai also have been targeted. They usually
hide near the walkway and wait for an unsuspecting victim;
they take anything they can get, money, gold and any valuables.
“A police watch-box is near the
market but when we report an incident of robbery they don’t
do anything it”, said Nai Sorn, a migrant and social
worker for the Mon community.
Migrant workers do not dare report after
being attacked and looted by the Mafia gang for fear of harassment
because they are not Thai citizens, another worker said.
The majority of migrant workers hold
employment permits cards issued by the Thai Labor Ministry
as a valid document to find employment in the country.
Over ten migrants in the last few years
were falsely accused and jailed for drug trafficking, the
Mafia and policemen had planted drugs in their pockets for
“Over two hundred Burmese migrants
are being held in Samutsakhon prison, both criminals and innocent
people including women, they have no idea when they’ll
be released”, said a released prisoner.
Samutsakhon, also known as Maharchai
Town, is a large community of Burmese migrant workers, mostly
Mon, roughly estimated at over a hundred thousand. Most live
in cramped conditions with extended families and young children,
all are happy to be working and living in Thailand in spite
of the discrimination toward them by Thai society. They provide
the Thai fishing industry with cheap labour, some argue that
if it wasn’t for them many businesses would have gone
bankrupt during the 1997 economic crisis, not just in Maharchai,
but all over Thailand.