BANGKOK, June 3 — A former army general convicted in the country’s biggest human trafficking case near the Thai-Malaysian border in 2015 died of a heart attack at the Medical Correctional Hospital in Bangkok where he was hospitalised, local media reported.
Bangkok Post reported Lt Gen Manas Kongpan who had hypertension, high cholesterol and bradycardia had a heart attack while exercising on the 8th floor of the hospital.
“Manas was pronounced dead at 8 pm (local time) on Wednesday,” the report said.
Manas, 65, was convicted with other officials and dozens of Thai nationals after a lengthy trial which began in 2015 after a crackdown following the discovery of dozens of shallow graves in a jungle near the Thai-Malaysian border.
In May 2015, more than 130 graves were discovered in 28 temporary camps of a human trafficking syndicate in Wang Kelian, located on the Malaysian side.
In 2017, the criminal court sentenced Manas to 27 years in jail on different charges including trafficking in persons, smuggling illegal migrants into the country and organized crime.
Apart from Manas, the criminal court sentenced 62 defendants including the former mayor of a sub-district of the southern Songkhla province, Banjong Pongphon to 78 years in prison. Also a businessman and former administrative body chief of Satun province Pajjuban Angchotephan was jailed for 75 years.
In 2019, a Thai court of appeal increased prison time for Manas from 27 years to 82 years for trafficking and corruption.