Driver arrested for smuggling 13 illegal Myanmar migrants in Songkhla

Photo courtesy of Bangkok Post.

A driver has been arrested for the fourth time in Songkhla for smuggling illegal migrants from Myanmar into Thailand. The driver, Aphiwatthana, was apprehended along with the 13 migrants he was transporting in his sport utility vehicle. The arrest took place at the Khuha intersection in the Rattaphum district, following a police pursuit along a highway.

Upon questioning, the 46 year old Aphiwatthana admitted to transporting the migrants from Surat Thani to Songkhla for 2,500 baht per person. His criminal record revealed three previous arrests for the same offence. Despite this, he stated that the financial reward was the primary reason for his continued involvement in smuggling.

The migrants informed the police that they had paid a total of 12 million kyat, equivalent to nearly 200,000 baht, to job brokers who had promised them work in Malaysia. Both the driver and the migrants are now in police custody, facing charges and awaiting legal action, reported Bangkok Post.

During questioning, the driver confessed to having transported the migrants from Surat Thani to Songkhla. He had been hired for 2,500 baht per head, he said.

A criminal record check showed Apiwatthana had been arrested for smuggling illegal migrants on three prior occasions before being released. He told police that he retook the job because he was well paid.

The migrants told police they had paid 12 million kyat in total, or almost 200,000 baht, to job brokers with a promise of work in Malaysia.

Last week, in Kanchanaburi’s Sangkhla Buri district, a pickup truck smuggling illegal migrants from Myanmar overturned, resulting in a fatality and ten arrests. A police officer was also injured during the operation as he was struck by one of the three pickup trucks involved in the smuggling.

A joint team of soldiers, police, and local authorities noticed three suspicious pickup trucks speeding along a local road at Sanehpong village, Moo 3, in the sub-district Nong Lu. When officers signalled for the vehicles to halt for a search, the drivers sped up and attempted to escape.

During the pursuit, one of the trucks hit and injured Pol. Capt. Pathiphan Yawan, deputy crime suppression chief at Sangkhla Buri station. The officer was immediately taken to Sangkhla Buri Hospital for treatment. Read more about the story HERE.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.