PHUKET: Police last night launched a series of raids aimed at catching illegal Burmese workers and cracking down on drug offenses and other crimes in Phuket Town. The raids, ordered by Pol Maj Gen Kongpol Suwannaraks, commander of the Phuket Provincial Police, began at 9 pm with 60 officers swooping on construction camps, the fishing port, rubber plantations, and shops. They netted 87 Burmese illegals. Pol Col Chalit Thintanee, superintendent of Phuket Town Police Station, said the raids came after fishing, rubber and construction companies had been told to register their laborers with the Immigration Department by October 31. He said that only 5,000 foreign laborers in the three sectors had been registered by the deadline, while immigration records showed that 20,000 to 30,000 Burmese were the province. “Businesses tried to avoid registering their laborers because each registration costs 2,000 to 3,000 baht,” said Khun Chalit. Owners of places where unregistered laborers were found last night will be charged with sheltering illegal aliens. During the night of raids, police also checked discos and pubs in Phuket Town and arrested a number of Thai teenagers on drug possession charges. The raids will continue tonight and tomorrow night, with many more arrests expected.
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