Malaysia court charges Thai nationals with human trafficking
Thai nationals who were involved in a trafficking ring in Malaysia will be held in a prison in the northern town of Kangar ahead of their next court appearance on July 25.
Four Thai nationals were charged in a Malaysian court with human trafficking of migrants on Friday over the discovery eight years ago of mass graves near the country's border with Thailand.
Back in 2015, more than 100 bodies were discovered buried deep in the Malaysian jungle, triggering an investigation into human trafficking in the Southeast Asian nation.
Aged between 30 and 58, the four men were charged under Malaysia's anti-trafficking in people and anti-smuggling of migrants law.
According to court documents, they were alleged to have been involved in the trafficking between 2013 and 2015 and could face up to 15 years in jail if found guilty.
After being extradited to Malaysia on Thursday, the suspects will be held in a prison in the northern town of Kangar ahead of their next court appearance on July 25.
The men, wearing white T-shirts and chained together, were taken to a court in Malaysia's northern city of Kangar, which borders Thailand, near where the graves and trafficking camps were found.
The suspects were among 10 Thai nationals that Malaysia had sought since 2017 as part of an investigation into the border camps.
One of Southeast Asia's richest countries, Malaysia depends heavily on cheap foreign workers from Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Myanmar for its construction, plantations, and services sectors.
The Malaysian human rights commissioners and a rights group released a report in 2019 that revealed a human smuggling syndicate operated in the area from 2012 to 2015.
That said, migrants were reportedly held in inhumane jungle camps where they faced physical violence and were often denied adequate access to food and water.