A Burmese migrant on a rail journey from Chiang Mai to Bangkok claims he underwent a nasty ordeal at the hands of Thai railway police. He is now seeking redress and justice from Thai authorities, according to the MAP Foundation for the Health and Knowledge of Ethnic Labour.
Aung Aung, a migrant from Burma, is seeking judicial redress with the assistance of MAP Foundation for a case of physical abuse and extortion committed by the Chiang Mai Railway Police. Aung Aung, a legal resident of Thailand, who has lived in Thailand since the age of 11 and served as monk for approximately 14 years, was the unfortunate victim of racial profiling and police misconduct. He is bringing his case before the National Human Rights Commission in hopes of not only gaining justice for his individual harm but also to shed light on the discrimination and misconduct of the police aimed towards migrants. Aung Aung says, “I am shocked by the mistreatment I was subject to by a civil servant. I have spent 40 years of my life in Thailand and it is my home. I want to ensure that this type of behavior is never repeated to anyone in the future.”
On 2 August 2009, while traveling by rail from Chiang Mai to Bangkok, Aung Aung was stopped by railway police who demanded to review his identification. Despite showing documents with a clear signature and stamp authorising his travel through all of Thailand, the police forced Aung Aung to disembark at Lamphoon and turned him over to the custody of a railway policeman in plain clothes. When Aung Aung asked what the charges against him were, the railway police threatened and physically abused him. The police then drove Aung Aung to Chiang Mai in an unmarked truck, where they took him to their private sleeping quarters and extorted Aung Aung for 1,200 THB, falsely claiming he would be subject to a 5,000 THB fine if taken to Court.
In pursuit of justice for the wrongdoings of the police, Aung Aung brought his case to the Provincial Justice Centre (Soun Dumrong Tham) at Chiang Mai City Hall and submitted his story to local media sources. He later sought the assistance of MAP Foundation who is currently providing him legal counsel.
The National Human Rights Commission of Thailand has begun an investigation of Aung Aung’s case; representatives from the Subcommission on Justice travelled to Chiang Mai on 16-17 September to collect evidence. On Friday, 18 September, the National Human Rights Commission was scheduled to discuss Aung Aung’s case at a meeting of the Commissioners. On the same day, Aung Aung filed a formal complaint at the Mai Ping police station in Chiang Mai against the police officers who perpetrated the crime.
Aung Aung requests that the National Human Rights Commission performs a full and speedy investigation in order to guarantee justice and to ensure that the police are no longer abusing their power and targeting migrants.
MAP Foundation for the Health and Knowledge of Ethnic Labour
Chiang Mai, Thailand
19 September 2009