Myanmar migrant killed, 10 arrested after pickup truck overturns in Kanchanaburi

Photo via Bangkok Post/Piyarat Chongcharoen

A tragic incident occurred in Kanchanaburi’s Sangkhla Buri district when a pickup truck smuggling illegal migrants from Myanmar overturned, resulting in one 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.

Late Wednesday night, 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 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.

Soon after, the team received information about a pickup truck that had overturned into a roadside ditch near a homestay in Nong Lu. Upon investigation, it was discovered that the vehicle was one of the three trucks involved in the smuggling operation. A 22 year old man from Myanmar, identified as Zaw Leng Gu, was found dead inside the wreckage.

While searching the area, officers found a group of people hiding in a nearby forest. All of them were confirmed to be illegal migrants from Myanmar, consisting of eight men and two women. The arrested migrants were handed over to the police at Sangkhla Buri station for legal proceedings.

The incident highlights the ongoing issue of illegal migration and human smuggling in Thailand.

Last week, seven Thai individuals were detained for allegedly smuggling Chinese nationals from Laos into Thailand. Authorities are looking into possible connections between these cases and call centre gangs.

Provincial Police Region 3 Commissioner Pol. Lt. Gen. Somprasong Yenthuan disclosed the series of arrests during a press briefing yesterday, involving Highway Police, Immigration Police, and Phibun Mangsahan Police in Ubon Ratchathani province. Read more about this 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.