Caught in the act: Police swoop down on illegal immigration, nabbing 23 in southern Thailand sting

Photo by Assawin Pakkawan, Bangkok Post

A swift police operation on illegal immigration yesterday resulted in the apprehension of 23 individuals in Songkhla, a province in southern Thailand. Four of them were Thai citizens acting as drivers, and the remaining 19 were Bangladeshis, who were identified as unlawful immigrants.

Following an informant’s tip-off about chances of illegal immigration, the local law enforcement swung into action, anticipating a group of illicit immigrants being transported from Samut Prakan to Malaysia via Songkhla. Acting on this information, at approximately 5.30pm, the immigration police strategically tailed five cars: A black Toyota Innova, a grey Toyota Altis, a red Toyota Altis, a Toyota Fortuner, and a Toyota Camry and successfully halted them on the Asian highway between Rattaphum and Bang Klam districts.

The individuals behind the wheel, four Thai drivers, three men and a woman, were immediately taken into custody. The woman was 48 year old Falada Suriyachat, hailing from Pathum Thani province. The men included: 49 year old Kittisak Mangkorn; from Kanchanaburi, 27 year old Rangsan Supan, from Yasothon, and 43 year old Sunthorn Kanungnit, from Nakhon Ratchasima. The identity or whereabouts of the fifth driver involved in the illegal immigration scheme is still unknown, as they fled the scene.

The intercepted vehicles were housing 19 illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. Upon questioning, the Thai drivers admitted to having been contracted by a man named Somchai to ferry the Bangladeshi immigrants from Samut Prakan to Songkhla. The price set for this illegal immigration crackdown operation was 2,500 baht per individual, reported Bangkok Post.

The foreigners disclosed that they originally flew into Cambodia and infiltrated the Thai border illicitly on Wednesday. After reaching Thailand, they were transported to Samut Prakan. They had each paid a sum of 350,000 takas or 110,000 baht to jobs agents who guaranteed employment opportunities for them in Malaysia.

The four Thai drivers have been charged with harbouring foreigners who entered the country illegally as part of an illegal immigration operation. Meanwhile, the Bangladeshi nationals have been remitted to the Bang Klam police station for legal proceedings concerning their illegal entry. The process for their eventual repatriation is in progress.

Crime NewsThailand News

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.

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