Forty-two job seekers from Myanmar were detained after crossing the border illegally into Sangkhla Buri district late Wednesday night, according to Thai authorities. The group was discovered following an alert in a forested area close to Song Kalia village, in Tambon Nong Lu. However, the individuals had fled the scene by the time officers arrived.
Subsequently, the informant advised that the group had taken a vehicle towards a pier at Wat Wang Wiwekaram, located in Wang Ka village in Tambon Nong Lu. The officers later located the men and women congregating near Vajiralongkorn Dam, situated behind the pier. Upon noticing the authorities, the group attempted to escape into a nearby forest, but all 42 individuals – 27 men and 15 women – were apprehended. Each person was identified as a Myanmar national lacking the appropriate travel documentation.
Upon being questioned, the detainees revealed they had travelled from various regions in Myanmar, such as Mandalay, Bago, and Yangon. They entered Thailand through a natural crossing in Sangkhla Buri, with their intended destinations being Bangkok, Chon Buri, Phuket, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, and Rayong for employment. Some even had job offers in Malaysia.
The Myanmar nationals admitted to authorities that they had agreed to pay between 20,000 and 30,000 baht to job brokers once they arrived at their destinations. As a precautionary measure, all were subjected to body temperature checks as part of Covid-19 screening procedures, yielding normal results. The detainees were then handed over to the Sangkhla Buri police station for further legal matters to be addressed.
The influx of illegal migrants from Myanmar into Thailand remains significant, as economic conditions have sharply declined in Myanmar in the two years following the military takeover. In 2021 alone, it was estimated that around 80,000 illegal border crossers, primarily from Myanmar, were apprehended. However, advocacy groups working with migrants suggest that as many as 100,000 individuals may have evaded the authorities, and are now employed in various regions across Thailand.
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