THAILAND: Migrant worker raped and killed 


Urgent Appeal Case: UA-44-2003
ISSUES: Violence against women, Women's rights,

Dear Friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received news that a female Burmese migrant worker was raped and killed by three men in Mae Sot, on the Thai border with Burma. One of three was identified as the factory security guard, who is a Thai national. However, no serious action has been taken yet by the police, and there are already indications that the case will not be treated seriously.

On 2 September 2003, about 1000 Burmese workers went on strike demanding legal action against the murder suspect because they are worried that he will not be punished. In late May in this year, there was a similar incident when six Burmese workers were killed in Mae Sot but the only person charged with murder, again a Thai national, was released on bail. In fact, Burmese people are routinely raped and murdered in this region without any consequences for the perpetrators.

AHRC requests you to express your concern about this case to the authorities in Mae Sot and to pressure them for an immediate and thorough investigation.

Urgent Appeals Desk

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)


Sandar Hlaing, a 25-year-old female Burmese, was working at the Ki Found knitting factory in Mae Sot for more than 4 years. On 31 August 2003, as usual, she went outside after work at the factory to get curry for dinner, at 8:00pm. Amorn Suwannachote, the factory’s 40-year-old security guard was sitting on a motorbike, and offered her a lift. She refused at first but accepted after he pestered her. According to three witnesses from the same factory, two more men on another motorbike left with them, but only Amorn Suwannachote was identified. After that, Sandar Hlaing disappeared.

On the morning of 1 September, the dead body of Sandar Hlaing was found along the Mae Sot-Phop Phra Highway, 2km from the factory. Her body was taken to the Mae Sot hospital. An autopsy conducted by the hospital revealed that Sandar Hlaing had been assaulted, raped and stabbed to death. Her ribs were broken and she had stab wounds in the neck.

After hearing about the murder on Tuesday morning (2 September), about 1000 angry Burmese workers from the Ki Found knitting factory went on strike and attacked Amorn Suwannachote, because they didn’t trust that the police will investigate her case fairly and bring him to justice. Amorn was rescued by the management and handed over to the police for questioning. He has reportedly claimed innocence. It is not clear if the police have charged him with anything, as latest news indicate he is still being held at the police station. Although the district police chief told the workers they would investigate the case thoroughly, other reports suggest that they are not doing so. Furthermore, there are indications that they are allowing persons involved in the case to take steps to cover it up. The body of the victim was quickly cremated on Thursday evening (4 September) despite attempts by NGOs to intervene. It appears that the factory management obstructed NGO access to the victim’s family, in an effort to have the body sent for a more thorough autopsy by forensic science specialists. There has also reportedly been a threat to at least one witness in this case. One of three was taken away by other factory security guards for five hours on the night of 2 September and he stopped speaking with other workers after he returned.


Please write a letter to the addresses below and express your concern over this serious case. Ask the local authorities to investigate the incident immediately and punish the responsible persons according to the law. A sample letter is attached.

1. Col. Sonkran Sankakorn

District Superintendent

Royal Thai Police

Intharakiri Road

Amphur Muang

Mae Sot, Tak 63110


Tel: 66-1 8873737

2. Maj. Gen. Sawek Pinsinchai

Provincial Police Chief

Royal Thai Police

Amphur Muang

Tak 63000

Tel: 66-1 3765421

3. Dr Pornthip Rojanasunan

Acting Director

Central Institute of Forensic Science

Ministry of Justice Building

2/F., Chaeng Watthana Road,

Pak Kret District

Nonthaburi 11120


Fax 662 502-6676

4. Mr Pongthep Thepkanjana
Minister of Justice
Office of the Ministry of Justice,
22F, Ministry of Justice Building,
Chaeng Watthana Road, Pak Kret
Nonthaburi 11120,
Fax: 662 502 6699

5. Ms. Yakin Ertürk

Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women

8-14 Avenue de la Paix,

1211 Geneva 10,


Fax: 41 22 917 9022 / 41 22 917 9011



To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER



RE: The rape and murder of Ms Sandar Hlaing

I am writing to bring to your attention the rape and murder of Sandar Hlaing, 25, a Burmese migrant worker in Mae Sot. According to witnesses, on 31 August 2003, she was taken away by the factory security guard, Amorn Suwannachote, 40, and another two men, and she was found dead along the Mae Sot-Phop Phra Highway on 1 September 2003. An autopsy conducted by the Mae Sot hospital revealed that Sandar Hlaing had been assaulted, raped and stabbed to death.

I have heard reports that evidence is being destroyed and witnesses intimidated and isolated. I strongly urge you to investigate this serious case immediately and do whatever you can to see that the responsible persons are punished according to Thai law. I also urge you to take all possible steps to ensure the security of the witnesses of the case.

Sincerely yours,


Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : UA-44-2003
Countries : Thailand,
Issues : Violence against women, Women's rights,