Despite an international crackdown, the organizers of the human smuggling network are still on the loose. And they are still recruiting passengers willing to pay handsomely to be shipped to Canada, the National Post reported.
Lieutenant-General Pongpat Chayapan of the Royal Thai Police said in an interview with the National Post, “I am aware that there is a network, a smuggling ring that is preparing to smuggle people over to Canada.”
When the MV Ocean Lady arrived off the British Columbia coast in 2009 carrying 76 migrants, it signaled that Canada had become a target of Southeast Asia’s human smuggling syndicates, the National Post said.
The next ship, the MV Sun Sea, came last August, this time with 492 migrants on board, some of them former Sri Lankan rebels.
And it’s not over yet.
The RCMP believes the smugglers are working from Thailand, Malaysia and Laos to send yet another migrant ship to the West Coast.
The smuggling runs are dangerous, as the images of a migrant ship breaking up off Australia’s Christmas Island last December attest. Twenty-eight died that morning.
They are also costly. The Canadian government has spent $25-million to date dealing with the MV Sun Sea.
In a four-part investigative series that began Saturday, the National Post takes readers on the smugglers’ trail.
In Part One, the National Post identifies for the first time the members of the smuggling network believed to be behind the migrant ships. The newspaper exposes how they operate and meet one of the suspects in a Bangkok prison.
In Part Two, the National Post reveals the untold story of the Canadians whose names and photos appear in Thai police files in connection with the Sun Sea smuggling operation.
In Part Three, the newspaper introduces readers to the Canadian and Thai police officials trying to stop the smugglers.
And in Part Four the National Post shines light on the dark side of Canada’s anti-human smuggling program: the hundreds of migrants who have been rounded up and held in an overcrowded Thai prison.
Read the complete four-part investigative series by the Post’s Stewart Bell.
Preview (March 25):
* On the human smugglers’ trail
Part one (March 26):
* The multi-headed snake http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/03/26/on-the-smugglers%E2%80%99-trail-the-multi-headed-snake/
* ‘So many refugees are here’ http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/03/26/on-the-smugglers%E2%80%99-trail-%E2%80%98so-many-refugees-are-here%E2%80%99/
* Photos: Investigating human smuggling in Thailand http://news.nationalpost.com/photo_gallery/photos-investigating-human-smuggling-in-thailand/
Part two (March 28):
Part three (March 29):
Part four (March 30):