Labor camp raided near Mai Khao

TAH CHAT CHAI: Some 50 police and local villagers raided a laborers’ camp beside a construction site near Mai Khao Beach Tuesday morning, taking into custody 82 male workers on charges of illegal entry into the Kingdom.

As is commonly the case when such raids take place in Phuket, no employer was found or charged.

Pol Lt Col Jamroon Plaiduong of Tah Chat Chai Police Station said, “The employer has done no wrong because the workers were arrested outside of a construction site.”

Thalang District Chief of Internal Security, Palad Thammarong Chuay-Aksorn, told the Gazette, “We learned about these Burmese aliens from some villagers who live near the camp. Their camp is near the Mai Khao beachfront around the West Sands development. We don’t know who they are working for.”

“I went there with about 40 Thalang District officers in my team as well as some village volunteers and police officers from Tah Chat Chai Police Station. About 50 people worked on these arrests.

“We arrested all 82 Burmese before noon. They were doing their daily activities. No one resisted or ran away. But we could not arrest their employer because nobody saw him there.”

Last week, the Gazette asked Immigration Commissioner Lt Gen Chatchawan Suksomchit, during his visit to Phuket, why so many illegal Burmese workers were on the island, and how it was possible that such  large numbers came here without being noticed by government authorities.

Gen Chatchawan replied, “I do not deny the fact that the integrity of government officials across the board must now be more closely monitored and action taken against those involved.”

Another senior police official, who asked to remain anonymous, said, “The Thai Border Police, an elite paramilitary unit that was developed by the CIA in the 1950s to root out communist insurgents, has come onto the island to protect national security and help arrest drug dealers.

“There have been complaints, however, that they are abusing their powers. For example, this week two restaurants reported that when officers were presented with their bills for food and drink, they acted outraged and threatened to arrest any migrants who might be working there if they were charged [for the meal].”

The 82 men are being held in jail at Tah Chat Chai police station while their cases are processed.

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Legacy Phuket Gazette

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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