Coronavirus (Covid-19)Thailand

Thailand renews crackdown on illegal migrants ahead of re-opening

PHOTO: WHO/Ploy Phutpheng

Thailand is cracking down on illegal migrants and those who smuggle them into the country, as authorities try to prevent imported Covid-19 infections. The Defence Ministry says over 30,000 illegal migrants have been intercepted and deported since the beginning of the year. According to a Bangkok Post report, the number arrested continues to rise as the country prepares to re-open to international tourism.

Kongcheep Tantravanich from the ministry says security checks are being stepped up along the borders, with officials also working with police to crack down on drug smuggling activity. According to Kongcheep, a number of Thai businesses have been hiring workers from labour brokers, many of whom are involved in smuggling illegal migrants into the kingdom. The government is urging companies not to engage in such practices, as illegal migrants will not undergo any form of health screening and could potentially import Covid-19 infections into Thailand.

The Bangkok Post reports that some state officials are being investigated for corrupt practices, including being involved in the illegal smuggling of migrant workers into Thailand. According to Kongcheep, most of the 30,000+ migrants deported since the start of the year were apprehended along the border between Thailand and Myanmar and between Thailand and Cambodia. It’s understood that most of the arrests too place in the northern provinces of Chiang Mai and Tak, in the western province of Kanchanaburi, and in the eastern province of Chanthaburi.

Meanwhile, soldiers in Tak worked with police from the Mae Sot district to raid a resort and arrest 31 illegal migrant workers from Myanmar yesterday. In the western province of Prachuap Khiri Khan, 45 Burmese workers were apprehended near the Thai-Burmese border, along with 5 people smugglers. The migrants have all been sent for Covid-19 testing.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

Maya Taylor

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