Some army officers under key suspect Lt-General Manas Kongpaen are suspected of involvement in the trafficking of Rohingya and other migrants, according to a special Issara News Agency report.
The officers reportedly are ranked from colonel to captain and face arrest if the ongoing police investigation into their alleged roles in human trafficking finds proof of their involvement, the report said.
It also said certain intelligence agencies had spent secret budgets to deliver illegal Rohingya migrants to other countries with good intention. However, this practice had been exploited by corrupt officials to profit from the trading of humans.
"These people later instituted a systematic trafficking ring that involved those in uniform from various agencies," the report said. A Defence Ministry investigation was ordered two years ago into the acts of four Army officers based in the South after news reports said military vehicles were used to transport Rohingya migrants. The probe finally found nobody at fault, and ruled the incident "a result of misunderstanding".
Meanwhile, deputy Royal Thai Police chief General Aek Angsananont said more suspects would be identified and arrested once there was more evidence available against them.
In a related development, six of 11 Rohingya people who fled from a government facility in Songkhla province have been located and brought back. Extra security has since been provided at this facility in Rattaphum district.
Aerial patrols by police helicopters have been conducted over Khao Kaew and the Sankala Khiri mountain range in Songkhla and Satun to monitor any movement of Rohingya and other migrants, but there were no sightings, police commander Colonel Phahol Ketkaew said.
A Border Patrol Police force has been camping out on Khao Kaew, where eight detention camps were found, to keep a watch for smugglers or migrants.