In the latest bust by border patrol, officers searched a pickup truck and found 11 Burmese migrants hiding in plastic containers. Over the past few months, dozens of Burmese migrants have been caught in Kanchanaburi for allegedly crossing the Myanmar border illegally, evading checkpoint screening and the mandatory 14 day quarantine for those entering the country. Many migrants who have been arrested told police they were entering Thailand for jobs.
Yesterday, a team of civilians, police and military troops signalled for the pickup truck to stop. The driver sped away, but stopped after a authorities followed the vehicle. Officers searched the truck and found 5 people hiding in an 1,000 litre tank while some people where hiding in a 200 litre barrels. 2 Burmese migrants were sitting in the front of the truck.
The driver, 62 year old Prayut Klahan, allegedly told police that he was paid 1,500 baht to drive the migrants to Kanchanaburi’s Muang district. The driver was charged with concealing and helping illegal migrants evade arrest. The migrants face charges of illegal entry and violating the Communicable Disease Act and the provincial announcement issued under the Emergency Decree.
The migrants would then be taken to the Samut Sakhon province, just southwest of Bangkok, where they had jobs lined up. Samut Sakhon has a large migrant population and was the hotspot of Covid-19 infections during the outbreak in December. An outbreak first started at a fishing hub in the province, affecting a large migrant population who worked in the area. Many lived in crowded dormitories. Border patrol had initially tightened due the rise of Covid-19 infections in Myanmar, but following the outbreak in Samut Sakhon, officials shifted their focus to crackdown on labour traffickers rather than migrants.
Recently, a number of Covid-19 cases have been detected in those entering Thailand illegally through land borders, according to Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Natapanu Nopakun, who gives the daily Covid situation report in English. He says authorities have again tightened border patrol to prevent illegally crossings into the country that could cause more Covid-19 infections in Thailand.
SOURCE: Bangkok Post
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