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Songkhla officials investigate migrant smuggling network

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Hat Yai.

Officials and police in southern Thailand’s Songkhla province are investigating an illegal migrant smuggling network. On Monday, officials and immigration police set up an ambush in a forest in the Hat Yai district. Illegal Burmese migrants had been staying there. After the authorities waited through the night and into the next day, 2 pickup trucks showed up, and the migrants left their hiding places to get on.

The officials then arrested 41 migrants, while 3 others escaped into the forest. They also arrested the 2 Thai truck drivers. The drivers said they were being paid 7,000 baht each by a man called Bang to take their passengers to Narathiwat, another southern province. From there, the migrants would be helped across the border into Malaysia.

The migrants said they had crossed into Thailand in Prachuap Khiri Khan province. Some had paid 50,000-60,000 baht each to job brokers. Others planned to pay once they got to their promised workplaces in Malaysia.

The migrants were handed over to the police for legal processing pending repatriation, and an investigation into the illegal smuggling network is underway.

Burmese migrant workers are regularly deported from Thailand, however, the Thai Cabinet recently made a move that could change this. If employers of undocumented workers submit their workers’ names to the Department of Employment, they will then have 60 days to apply for work permits for the workers on that list. This will essentially legalise the undocumented workers, about 120,000 of them by government estimates, to stay in Thailand until February 13, 2023.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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