FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 1995

CR (202) 616-2765 TDD (202) 514-1888

TEN THAI NATIONALS INDICTED ON NEW CHARGES OF SLAVERY AND KIDNAPPING WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Ten Thai nationals were indicted today on charges that they enticed laborers from Thailand, and then enslaved and forced them to toil in a makeshift garment factory near Los Angeles. The 23 count indictment, returned today in Federal District Court in Los Angeles, supersedes earlier charges filed against nine of the Thai defendants on August 17, 1995. Today's indictment contains new charges of conspiring and committing acts of involuntary servitude and kidnapping, and additional charges of transporting and harboring aliens entering the United States. A tenth defendant was added to the new indictment. "I am gratified that the investigative work of INS has led to the indictments issued here today," said Doris Meissner, Immigration and Naturalization Service Commissioner. "We will continue to work with other Federal agencies to enforce our immigration laws to support legal workers and close this country's door to those who traffic in human beings." The indictment alleged that the ten defendants enticed Thai citizens to travel to the United States by promising the victims high wages, good hours and freedom. Upon arrival in the U.S., the Thai laborers were transported to a work compound where they were told they would be confined and forced to work up to 20 hours at a time. The victims were housed in an apartment complex in El Monte, California encased by razor wire and spiked fences. Full-time guards were hired to prevent the workers from leaving the compound. The indictment further alleged that the defendants used threats against the victims and their families to force the workers to remain in the El Monte compound. "These allegations are shocking and show that slavery is not a thing of the past," said Deval L. Patrick, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. Counts two through eight of the indictment charged the defendants with committing involuntary servitude. Counts nine through fifteen charged the defendants with kidnapping, counts sixteen through twenty-two charged them with transporting aliens and count twenty-three charged them with harboring undocumented aliens. The first count charged the defendants with conspiring to commit these acts. If convicted, the defendants face a sentence of up to life in prison. "The Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are to be commended for their extensive investigation of this case," said Nora M. Manella, U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles. "Today's superseding indictment reflects this

office's and federal law enforcement's commitment to bring those responsible for the El Monte slave labor garment operation to justice." Eight of the defendants, Suni Manasurangkun, Wirachai Manasurangkun, Surachai Manasurangkun, Phanasak Manasurangkun, Sunthon Rawangchaisong, Seri Kananchakphairi, Rampha Satthaprasit, and Suphon Wiraytwilai are in federal custody as a result of the earlier charges. The two others, Sanchai Manasurangkun and Chavalit Manasurangkun, are presently at large. This case was investigated by the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. # # # 95-577