Thailand's former chief trafficking investigator seeks political asylum in Australia saying he fears for his life, while Thai police consider suing him for defamation. Natasha Howitt reports.
Thailand's former chief investigator into human trafficking says he is seeking political asylum in Australia. Paween Pongsirin says he fears for his life, and that influential figures in the Thai government, military and police force are involved in the human trafficking trade and want him dead. He arrived in Melbourne a few days ago having resigned from his post in November. In an interview with ABC, Paween said he had been trying to do the "right thing". (SOUNDBITE) (English) ABC JOURNALIST, MARK DAVIS, SAYING: "You're seeking political asylum in Australia, why?" (SOUNDBITE) (English Translation) FORMER CHIEF INVESTIGATOR IN HUMAN TRAFFICKING CASE, POLICE MAJOR GENERAL PAWEEN PONGSIRIN, SAYING: "Because of my human trafficking investigations. I was working for humanity, for those who are suffering and I tried to do the right thing. But now I'm here and now seeking a safe place for myself. I believe there should be a safe place for me in this world, somewhere." Thai police have since responded, saying they are considering suing Paween for defamation. (SOUNDBITE) (Thai) THAI POLICE CHIEF, POLICE GENERAL JAKTHIP CHAIJINDA, SAYING: "I don't know the reason why he had to (go and speak about this issue) or whether there is a hidden political agenda. But I think that by doing this, he could damage the country." The country's police chief also questioned why Paween didn't just send the names of those involved to them, so that they could take care of it. The case has raised doubts over Thailand's commitment to end human trafficking and protect its own officers.