Police swoop on canoe tour, arrest 12

PHANG NGA: Tourists on a canoe trip in Phang Nga Bay on Thursday watched astonished as police, accompanied by local villagers, swooped on their tour boat, the Andaman Queen, and arrested 12 Burmese crewmen. The raid followed complaints from the villagers of Tambon Klong Kian in Takua Thung district that the Burmese were working illegally with the tour company. Officers, led by Pol Lt Col Watcharin Tawitsri, also brought two Thai crew members in for questioning, following which the owner of the company, Phuket-based Andaman Queen Tour Co, was arrested by police in Phuket Town. As well as being held for working in Thailand illegally, the Burmese face an additional charge of acting illegally as tour guides. They are currently being held in custody while investigations continue. Their employer was charged with providing shelter and jobs to illegal immigrants. He has been released on bail. Col Watcharin said the villagers also alleged that the Burmese were responsible for a number of serious crimes in the area recently. These allegations were being investigated, he said.

Phuket News

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