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Thailand blocks natural borders following Myanmar coup, bounty for human traffickers increases

Caitlin Ashworth



PHOTO: Bangkok Biz News

With thousands of Burmese people expected to flee to Thailand following the military coup in Myanmar, Thai immigration police say they have blocked at least 7 natural border passageways. Thai immigration police chief Sompong Chingduang says he estimates around 400,000 Burmese migrants are looking to enter Thailand, adding that the bounty for the arrest of human traffickers has increased.

“We have learned that the bounty offered for the arrest of Myanmar human traffickers has risen to 15,000 baht per person, while that of Chinese traffickers has risen to 50,000 baht per person. Police have been told to be on the lookout for these labour traffickers.”

Sompong says he’s concerned that an influx of illegal migrants will cause another Covid-19 outbreak. Just earlier this week, a Royal Thai Army commander played down the risk of a surge of illegal migrants fleeing Myanmar and reassured the public that anyone trying to enter Thailand will be arrested.

“We are closely monitoring the situation. Burmese people themselves may not be affected, but I told soldiers to step up inspections at the border in case Burmese politicians or VIPs enter into the country to hide.”

Thais started worrying about the virus reaching Thailand when Myanmar reported a spike in cases back in mid-September. Over the next month, as infections continued to spread, Thai authorities tightened patrol along the border and used barbed wire to block natural passageways.

After the major outbreak at the Samut Sakhon seafood market, infecting hundreds of Burmese migrants, the Royal Thai Army admitted that they cannot stop border breaches and keep people from entering illegally.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand


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  1. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Friday, February 5, 2021 at 5:09 pm

    Why do they call them human traffickers. They are tour guides.
    They take Burmese on a pleasant jungle walk over the mountains into Thailand.
    French guides took escaped prisoners of war over the Pyrenees into Spain, They were not called human traffickers.
    The Thai just want to make these cuddly tour guides look bad, by calling them unpleasant names.

    • Avatar


      Saturday, February 6, 2021 at 1:33 pm

      Thailand thinking they can hold the borders is cute. They couldn’t stop them before, what makes them think they could stop them now when they’re actually wanting to escape the military dictatorship.

  2. Avatar

    Kuhn David

    Friday, February 5, 2021 at 9:36 pm

    The bounty will be enforced, unless the accused is a rich Thai who is tied in with the local police and politicians. In that instance, Justice will look the other way.

  3. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Friday, February 5, 2021 at 9:52 pm

    How much is the bounty by the way, and if I collect will I be accused of working in Thailand without a work permit?


  4. Avatar


    Saturday, February 6, 2021 at 9:46 am

    All borders should be open and no govt should maintain them. If it’s ok to drive from phuket to Chiang mai, it should be ok to drive from Myanmar to phuket.

    Theres no reason an invisible line needs to be artificially enforced. That’s just madness.

    If anything, border enforcement actually makes thais less safe.

    If there weren’t borders and someone was sick with covid, they just go get treatment at neatest clinic, but with this set up, they stay hidden among the people for fear of trouble

    • Avatar

      Jim Ferrante

      Sunday, February 7, 2021 at 1:31 pm

      Liberalism is a disease

  5. Avatar

    Grumpy John

    Saturday, February 6, 2021 at 1:21 pm

    “the Royal Thai Army admitted that they cannot stop border breaches and keep people from entering illegally.” If Prayut releases a “Shoot to kill” order I am pretty sure the Burmese will stop coming after the word gets around.

  6. Avatar

    Issan John

    Sunday, February 7, 2021 at 12:36 am

    If the Immigration Police Chief has only “learned” how much the bounty is, then who’s paying the bounty?

    Gen question, as I can’t follow that.

  7. Avatar


    Sunday, February 7, 2021 at 7:16 am

    This is the real threat to Thailand’s coveted non-COVID status. Imagine if an invading army were pouring over the border to kill 50,000 Thai’s. The army, navy and air force would be doing everything in their power to stop the invasion. If they don’t plug the holes along the borders then that’s what’ll happen.

    The army has already said it can’t stop an invasion of this type. A CYA move that wasn’t acceptable and has been walked back. They have 360,850 active military personnel plus 200,000 more in the reserves. They’d better get to work and act like an invasion might come to their borders.

  8. Avatar

    Jim Ferrante

    Sunday, February 7, 2021 at 1:32 pm

    Liberalism is a disease

  9. Avatar


    Sunday, February 7, 2021 at 4:46 pm

    at the end of the day Thailand and Burma have a lot in common, they are both run by the military and there is definitely a mutual commonality amongst the leaders. So don’t expect much sympathy from Thailand for the oppressed Burmese.

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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