An army general, two provincial politicians and police officers were among 62 people out of 103 defendants found guilty on Wednesday by a judge in Thailand’s biggest human trafficking trial.
The trial, which began in 2015, had been marred by allegations of intimidation of witnesses, interpreters and police investigators.
Some of those guilty of trafficking were also convicted of taking part in organised transnational crimes, and forcible detention leading to death and rape.
A Bangkok court took over 12 hours to deliver its ruling which rights groups said showed the government was serious about convicting perpetrators.
“The court has sentenced 62 defendants on 13 different charges,’’ the criminal court said in a statement.
In the harshest sentence given by the court, Soe Naing, widely known as Anwar, a Rohingya man who police said was a key figure behind a brutal trafficking network that ran a jungle camp where dozens died, was sentenced to 94 years in prison.
The defendants, among them Myanmar nationals, were accused of smuggling and trafficking migrants on the Thai-Malaysia border.
Thailand has historically been a source, destination and transit country for men, women and children who are often smuggled and trafficked from poorer, neighbouring countries like Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.
According to report, the trafficking migrants are to work in Thailand or further afield in Malaysia, often as labourers and sex workers. (Reuters/NAN)