Top cop ‘Big Joke’ appeared to support the woman’s story on Wednesday when he revealed that police in Thailand had intercepted a message from what he said was a ruthless Chinese gang. The story is also quite similar to claims made in February by a 31-year-old Chinese man who claimed he was held by a Chinese human trafficking gang in the rapidly expanding resort city of Sihanoukville as a ‘blood slave’ and threatened with organ harvesting before making his escape last month. The repugnant trade in human organ harvesting is one of the darker and evil sides of international human trafficking, one that many people find naturally repugnant but which is growing rapidly with continuous demand exceeding supply and vast sums being paid for human organs through increasingly sophisticated fronts such as medical clinics and international medical tourism. The World Health Organisation (WHO), in 2018, estimated that a human kidney was bartered somewhere in the world more than once an hour or over 10,000 times a year while one Washington DC-based intelligence organisation conservatively estimates that at least one in ten human transplants involve organs harvested illegally.
The sensational story of a 25-year-old Thai woman who returned from Cambodia last Wednesday claiming she was rescued by authorities in the neighbouring kingdom just before a Chinese gang was about to begin harvesting her organs is being investigated by police there. The story was reported to senior Thai police officer Police Lieutenant General Surachate Hakparn or ‘Big Joke’ who was in Sa Kaeo province last Wednesday to meet and debrief the woman and seven other returnees. One senior officer in Cambodia’s northwestern province of Banteay Meanchey, however, has described the claims as ‘baseless’. This followed similar claims by a 31-year old alleged Chinese victim of human trafficking being refuted by police there in recent weeks as a hoax after a full investigation and at least three arrests.
The Royal Thai Police and their counterparts in Cambodia in the coming weeks will launch a joint operation to crack down on illegal migration between Thailand and Cambodia which was in the spotlight this week when a 25-year-old Thai woman from Bangkok, named Be, made sensational claims, on her return, of a narrow escape at the hands of a Chinese criminal gang through her rescue by Cambodian authorities just at the moment her captors were about to take her life in a surgical operation to harvest her organs.
Be’s claims were made last Wednesday evening as she arrived back from a period of hospital convalescence in Poipet, Cambodia along with seven other Thais, one man and six women.
‘Big Joke’ meets human trafficking victims last week in Sa Kaeo including the woman who made the organ harvesting claims which he appeared to verify
She was interviewed by Police Lieutenant General Surachate Hakparn or ‘Big Joke’ who travelled to Aranyaprathet in Sa Kaeo province especially on Wednesday in his capacity as the deputy director of the Royal Thai Police anti-trafficking task force to meet the returning group who are all reported to have been victims of human trafficking.
The top policeman told reporters that he had verified the woman’s story from police intelligence after monitoring LINE communications between members of a ruthless Chinese gang operating in Cambodia with one particular message suggesting a young Thai woman was about to die in an organ harvesting operation.
Ms Be’s story, along with ongoing complaints from other Thai nationals, who have been lured to Cambodia on false pretences such as a lucrative job offer only to find themselves at the mercy of call centre scam gangs and human traffickers, has led the Thai ambassador in Phnom Penh, Mr Panyarak Poolthup, to take up the matter with Cambodian authorities and police agencies.
Ambassador in Phnom Penh satisfied with support from officials and police in Cambodia to protect Thais
On Thursday, Mr Panyarak indicated his satisfaction at cooperation between Thai and Cambodian police on the issue and assurances from Cambodia’s Deputy Prime Minister Samdech Sar Kheng.
‘Thai people have fallen victim. The Embassy is encouraged by Samdech Sar Kheng’s remarks yesterday that Cambodia is resolute in ridding Preah Sihanouk province of all crimes as it will ensure the safety of the Thai citizens there,’ Ambassador Panyarak revealed.
It is also reported that Cambodia’s long time Prime Minister and effective ruler, Hun Sen, has had discussions on security concerns for Thai nationals in Cambodia, particularly in the province of Preah Sihanouk with Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan.
Sihanoukville is at the centre of repeated allegations centred on criminal activity by Chinese gangs
This is where the fast-growing Cambodian city and gambling hotspot of Sihanoukville is based.
Once a sleepy holiday resort, the city has grown substantially as an enclave for huge Chinese run casinos over the last decade into a seaside port that has attracted huge investment as part of China’s expansionist Belt and Road infrastructure initiative.
This is where the Thai woman’s alleged ordeal began after being lured to the Kingdom of Cambodia by fake advertising in Thailand offering lucrative work.
When confronted by a job in Sihanoukville that 25 year old Ms Be quickly adduced to be a scam preying on Thai nationals at home, she refused to work.
She was instead abused, assaulted and detained by her employers who, she said, tortured her with electric sticks or electric prods used for stunning both human beings and animals.
The young woman said she was locked up without food and ordered to make contact with her family at home to demand a ransom for her release from captivity.
25-year-old Bangkok woman made her escape from the city after being held and beaten by electric prods
At some point, the Thai woman says a more concientuous Chinese national with the gang helped her to make her escape.
She says that he hired a driver and vehicle to take her from Sihanoukville to Poipet opposite the border with Aranyaprathet in Thailand’s Eastern province of Sa Kaeo.
However, she then revealed that a man joined the journey on the way.
She told top Thai policeman, General Surachate, that the driver then suggested that an overnight stay was required as he was too tired to drive any further.
She claims to have been overcome in some way. She said she passed out only to wake up and find herself back in Sihanoukville where she saw bags of blood which she learned was her own nearby.
A journey of torture and blood loss towards the Cambodian border with Vietnam before being rescued
Her shocking story is that she was then taken on a journey towards Cambodia’s border with Vietnam that lasted for several days during which she was regularly subjected to beatings from the electric prods and blood was taken from her body.
On Wednesday evening, she told Police Lieutenant General Surachate that the travelling party stayed at hotels overnight on this trip.
On one occasion, she came across a Thai woman at a roadside stop to buy water and slipped her a note.
This is what led to her rescue by Cambodian police at a point where Ms Be claims she was being readied for surgery to have her organs harvested.
General Surachate warns that 3,000 illegal Thais are living in Cambodia who could easily face similar perils or the fate of being bled to death by evil mafias
The young woman’s dramatic and, in places, seemingly implausible story has been greeted in Thailand by reactions ranging from shock and revulsion to cynicism since it was published last Thursday although it is clear that top police officers in Thailand, including Police Lieutenant General Surachate, believe it to be authentic.
‘There are possibly close to 3,000 Thais working illegally in Cambodia, about 90% of whom are illegal migrants,’ Police Lieutenant General Surachate explained this week as he revealed that human trafficking gangs operating in the Thailand’s neighbouring kingdom have become ‘very cruel’ as they continue to dupe Thai workers to travel to Cambodia illegally and then abuse them with the prospect of using them as ‘blood slaves’ and murdering them for human organ harvesting, being a very real one to fear.
The threat is real indicates the top cop
The top policeman said the gangs were capable of literally bleeding people to death.
On Wednesday, General Surachate was adamant that the threat to vulnerable Thai workers who enter Cambodia illegally was a real one posed by these criminal gangs.
He said such crews, mainly of Chinese origin, regularly resorted to torture once their efforts at human trafficking for commercial exploitation or generation of a ransom failed. They then move to blood and organ harvesting leading to death.
31-year-old Chinese national Li Yayuanlun told a very similar story in February about being held as a ‘blood slave’ by a Chinese gang in Sihanoukville
Police Lieutenant General Surachate’s warning of what awaits Thais travelling illegally to Cambodia is corroborated by the story of a 31-year old Chinese man, Li Yayuanlun, formerly a security guard in China who was lured by a fake job advertisement placed by a firm in Southern China in August last year and ended up being taken at gunpoint by a human trafficking gang into Cambodia.
Mr Li, in mid-February, escaped with the help of one of the gang members who worked in an online fraud operation.
He claims to have been held as a ‘blood slave’ by the gang to whom, he claims, he was sold on arrival in Cambodia, also in the city of Sihanoukville.
He alleges to have been held with five other captives in beds surrounded by four guards for the sole purpose of harvesting his blood.
Mr Li claimed that 850 ml of blood was taken from his body each month and sold online to the highest bidder along with other victims.
He also, like Thai woman Ms Be, described the gang involved using electric prods on their victims to keep them under control.
Chinese man also threatened with having his organs harvested if he did not give up his blood to the gang
The Chinese man, from Eastern Jiangsu province in China, was treated in hospital from his weakened condition after his escape.
He told staff from the Chinese Embassy and police who visited him while recovering that he was threatened with having his organs harvested if he failed to produce blood for the gang and believed that he was also being prepared for such an eventuality in any event.
He said the gang had discovered he was an orphan when they asked him to obtain a ransom from his family in China and that this made him a more attractive target for organ harvesting.
In Cambodia, the police chief of Preah Sihanouk Provincial Police, on Thursday, said his officers are investigating Ms Be’s claims as to their credibility.
Cambodian Police investigating the latest claims by the Thai woman who returned this week, one senior officer has already described them as ‘baseless’
He said that such a scenario, if proved to be true, would be very bad publicity for Sihanoukville which he described as a successful, up and coming international city where people from all countries were moving to so that they might enjoy higher wages.
‘The reports on workers being tortured and having organs harvested are not good for the country and if this is true, the story can also affect Preah Sihanouk province, as such a story will cause fear and stop people from coming here,’ Major General Chuon Narin declared. ‘Many Thai workers who are working in the province are quite happy here because the jobs bring them good wages.’
The provincial police chief of Banteay Meanchey, in northwestern Cambodia which borders Sa Kaeo in Thailand and is also linked to Ms Be’s story, Major General Sith Loh, however, was even more sceptical.
He described the Thai woman’s claims as ‘baseless’ but, at the same time, encouraged any foreign worker who has encountered such experiences to come forward to the police and report their situation.
‘We take serious measures to crack down on such cases since we will never allow this to happen for the good of the country,’ Major General Sith said.
Cambodian police have already described the Chinese man’s claims as a hoax and a ‘fabrication’ after a probe. Say they have arrested three of his friends
Mr Li was held by the gang for six months before he escaped bondage.
His story initially shocked Cambodia but was later dismissed by Cambodian police who issued a statement denouncing it as a hoax or a ‘pure fabrication’, a conclusion they said had been reached after weeks investigating the claims.
The police said that they had arrested three of Mr Li’s friends in connection with the case and explained that his motivation for making the claims was to secure his return to China having entered Cambodia illegally and voluntarily.
Organ trafficking however is a growing business around the world with huge demand coming in particular from first world countries where people are prepared to pay huge sums of money and where demand always exceeds supply.
Grotesque, sensational nature of these claims make them less credible and the serious issue of human trafficking linked with organ harvesting a dark one
The grotesque nature of the trade and the fact that those who purchase illegally harvested organs, often channelled through fronts disguised as reputable, caring and bona fide service providers, has led to this most inhuman and perhaps the evilest form of human trafficking being played down, particularly by western countries and the media.
Global Financial Integrity (GFI), a Washington DC-based organisation that studies illegal flows of money worldwide estimates that 10% of organ transplants across the globe are sourced from illegally harvested organs.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated in 2018 that there were 10,000 human kidneys traded on the black market for organs annually which would work out at a rate of over 1.14 kidneys per hour changing hands.
China is at the top of the list for human organ harvesting although authorities there may have driven it outside the country’s borders with new laws
This is thought to have increased substantially due to the devastating economic impact of the pandemic since 2020 on countries where such organs are most likely to be harvested.
These are China, Pakistan, Egypt, Colombia and the Philippines.
It is thought that a crackdown on the activity in China, the most populous country in the world, has led to organ harvesting gangs moving their operations outside China’s borders with Cambodia being a key target.
Cambodia, with its proximity to Thailand, Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries is the ideal hub for such activity with Sihanoukville and other well known holiday resorts in the region providing effective cover.
Researchers have noted that money used to pay for illegal organs is often camouflaged or accompanied by payment for travel activity and tourism, in particular medical tourism.
Demand always exceeds supply for organs worldwide on the black market with huge prices paid for human parts.
Demand for illicit organs always exceeds supply with big money to be made in a multi-billion dollar industry disguised by medical fronts across the globe
Demand for organs comes primarily from developed countries such as Canada, the United States, Australia, Europe and Scandinavian countries but there is also unusually high activity in parts of North Africa, Central Africa, Turkey as well as Mexico and the Middle East.
This is caused by a complex range of factors ranging from medical practice, culture, history and economic development patterns.
The waiting time for a kidney in Canada is up to 6 years while it can be sourced through a medical service company on the web in a matter of months and often with competitive medical costs included.
That the demand exists is beyond doubt and the prices on offer to organ harvesters show just why this evil trade, which is not publicised as much as sex trafficking and human slavery, is growing at such a rate posing a very real and terrifying risk to people who fall victim to it.
The average price for a pair of lungs starts at $150,000, for corneas $30,000, for a human heart at $130,000, liver at $98,000 and for kidneys $62,000.
These disturbing figures were published in a 2006/2007 report into organ harvesting in China prepared by Canadian MP David Kilgour and human rights lawyer David Matas.
The industry is estimated to be worth at least $2 billion a year.