Hunt Still On for Sweatshop Ring Suspects
Authorities are renewing their search for two men who evaded capture when authorities broke up a sweatshop ring in 1995 that held more than 70 Thai immigrants in slave-like conditions in a house in El Monte.
The Aug. 2, 1995, raid by state and federal agents found the workers living 10 or more to a room with no air conditioning, working 16-hour days and seven days a week to sew clothes, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent Phil Bonner said Monday, 10 years after the case focused attention on domestic labor conditions.
Eight people who ran the sweatshop were convicted, but two men allegedly involved in the ring were never caught. Sanchai Pongrapin, also known as Sanchai Manasurangkun, and Chavalit Manasurangkun were in Thailand at the time of the raid, said Bonner, who worked on the original case.
“We are still looking for them,” he said.
The owners of the sweatshop brought the workers from Thailand with false visas and then confiscated their passports. They often threatened to go to Thailand to “visit” the homes of the El Monte workers’ families if the workers did not produce enough clothes or tried to run away, Bonner said.