Life imprisonment of employers in premeditated murder against migrant workers upheld by Appeals Court

On 13 March 2013, the Provincial Court of Mae Sot read a verdict by the Appeals Court in the case that Mr. Prayun Kawiradet and another accused are indicted on the offence of murder, infringement on freedom, abuse of officials in justice process, and abuse of Firearms Act. Convicted to life imprisonment, the employers were accused of slaying their own migrant workers working in their corn plantations.

The crime took place on 9 November 2007, around 23.00, when Mr. Prayun Kawiradet, the corn plantation’s owner and his aide forced five migrant workers into a pickup truck and drove to the foot of Huay Pra RuSi Hill, along the road from Ban Jedikoh-Ban Pong Wua, Tambon Mahawan, Mae Sot District, Tak Province. Then, the five migrant workers were shot and burned with tires; four died at the spot, another sustained severe injuries and was rescued by both governmental and private organizations. Later, Mr. Prayun and his aide were prosecuted by the Mae Sot public prosecutor at the Provincial Court of Mea Sot. Some of family of the victims in this case appointed an attorney from Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF) to be a co-plaintiff. HRDF also provides for help to enable the victims’ relatives to file damage claim against the employers in a separate civil suit.

Mr. Somnchai Homla-or, Secretary General of HRDF said that the case highlights the plight of migrant workers who are most vulnerable to exploitations by their Thai employers. And the employers assume they can evade liability by resorting to their influence. Collaboration between state officers and civil society organizations like HRDF in this case shed light on how victims of human rights abuse shall be able to gain access to justice. HRDF owes thanks to police officers of the Mae Sot Police Station and the Tak public prosecutor for their enforcement of the law without having concern for any influence.

Mr. Somnchai Homla-or continues that in order to prevent employers from exploiting migrant workers, apart from stringent law enforcement to hold perpetrators to justice, it is important to formalize the employment of migrant workers, particularly those hired in agricultural sector. This shall make effective monitoring by state officers possible and the state is obliged to facilitate easily accessible registration process and to encourage employers to register their workers.

For more information, please contact

Mr. Thanu Ekkachote, HRDF attorney, phone 084-161 0066 and Ms. Preeda Tongchumnum, HRDF Assistant to Secretary General, phone 02 277 6882