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More than 15,000 foreigners arrested since January for illegal border crossings

Tanutam Thawan



Photo via Facebook/ Kanchanaburi News

Thousands of foreign nationals have been arrested this year for illegally crossing land borders into Thailand. Due to fears that those entering Thailand illegally and evading the mandatory 14-day quarantine could possibly lead to the spread of Covid-19, particularly more contagious variants of the virus, Thai authorities say they will take tough legal action on illegal migrants and labour traffickers.

From January 1 to May 9, a total of 15,378 people have been arrested for illegally crossing land borders into Thailand. Out of the people arrested, 6,072 were from Myanmar, 5,114 were from Cambodia and 882 were from Laos.

The Thai Immigration Bureau is working with border patrol officers to tighten security along Thailand’s borders, the bureau’s chief Sompong Chingduang told the Bangkok Post.

“Those who enter Thailand illegally will be prosecuted under the immigration law, the communicable diseases and the emergency decree.”

In Thailand’s last wave of Covid-19 infections in December and January, fingers pointed at illegal Burmese migrants as the epicentre of infections were concentrated at a fishing hub in Samut Sakhon, affecting a large migrant worker population.

With the recent wave of infections peaking drastically higher than the past outbreaks in Thailand and said to be linked to the more contagious variant of the virus first found in the UK, health officials are now tightening security and control measures along the borders to prevent more cases.

Border security is also being increased to prevent the emergence of the variant of the virus first detected in India. The director of the Health Science Centre of Emerging Diseases at Chulalongkorn University’s faculty of medicine made a post on Facebook saying he was concerned the variant could be imported into Thailand and cause another wave of infections.

“In the next few months, the variant found in India may slip across the border into Thailand from Myanmar. Business operators are now importing illegal migrants again… If the border is left unchecked like this and no tough measures are imposed in Bangkok and adjacent provinces, brace yourselves for a fourth wave. The current third wave will pale by comparison.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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  1. Avatar

    J West

    Wednesday, May 12, 2021 at 12:58 pm

    15000 seems a bit high for ambling foot traffic, might there be an element of alleged “human trafficking” . After all, the Burmese do work cheap and that leads to big profits. And, allegedly, there are anecdotal reports that a family can have a ‘helper’ for the kids and Granny for as little as B1500 a month.

  2. Avatar

    Dynamo Dave

    Wednesday, May 12, 2021 at 7:38 pm

    It’s those damned porous borders, that’s what it is. Is there any authorised authority tasked to keep an eye on those things?

    What, an authorised authority – in Thailand – tasked to perform some sort of work? . . . you’ve got to be joking!

  3. Avatar

    James R

    Wednesday, May 12, 2021 at 8:58 pm

    The border with Myanmar alone is over 2500 kilometres so it must be almost impossible to guard all of it, then there is the border between, Laos, Malaysia and Cambodia as well.

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Local Thai journalist speaking fluent Thai and English. Tanutam studied in Khon Kaen before attending Bangkok’s Chulalongkhorn University.

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