US upgrade not likely until after new charter passed, Surapong says

national June 26, 2015 01:00


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AN UPGRADE OF the Thai fishing industry in the US' Trafficking In Persons ranking is unlikely, as Thailand remains undemocratic, without an elected government running the country, former foreign minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said yesterday.

The EU’s index for illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing should also correspond to the US rating, said Surapong, a former MP of the anti-coup Pheu Thai Party, which was toppled by the military in May last year.
No action from the US in its announcement next month would conform to its long-standing policy to condemn military coups through scaling back diplomatic relations and assistance.
“The best way [to achieve an upgrade] is to pass the new constitution – not to delay or dislodge it,” he said.
Meanwhile, some of the 33 police, including a division commander, suspected of being involved in or benefiting from the trafficking of Rohingya and other migrants, are set to be transferred, Pol General Somyot Poompanmoung, the national police chief, has said.
Some of the 33 have been suspected of other illegal activity, including trading in contraband oil and racketeering with Pol Lt-General Pongpat Chayapan, former commissioner of Central Investigation Police, who is now in custody and facing further prosecution in many criminal cases.
Another 13 officers will be promoted to key positions, including commander of the Marine Police, he said. 
A source said the new commander is Pol Maj-General Somprasong Yenthuam. Deputy chief Pol Colonel Akkharadej Phimolsri would be promoted to commander of Crime Suppression Police.
In related news, a police source said the testifying by both state and defence witnesses in the human trafficking trials would take at least five years. 
The police’s investigation report is about 40,000 pages in 126 files.
The 54-day probe, which began on May 1, involved 100 case investigators and many witnesses. The trials would take five years alone to hear witnesses from both sides, the source added.
Earlier yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan said the TIP index would not be lowered because the government and agencies had all done their best to suppress human trafficking. Thailand is ranked in Tier 3, which is the lowest. 

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