Burmese migrant worker killed en route to Malaysia

Six surviving Burmese nationals handed over to immigration police

A Burmese man was killed and six others were injured this morning when a Toyota Fortuner bound for the Malaysian border rear-ended a truck in the Tha Chana district in the north of Surat Thani province in the early hours. The accident occurred at the 120-kilometre marker on southbound Highway 4.

Police and rescue workers arriving on the scene found a badly-damaged white Fortuner SUV with Bangkok licence plates. Its front had struck the back of a 22-wheel trailer truck.

One person was killed and six others were injured and trapped inside the vehicle.

Rescue workers retrieved them from the wreckage.

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The driver fled the scene.

According to a police investigation, the vehicle was en route from Ranong province to the southern border, where the illegal Burmese migrant worker was killed. It was to be taken to Malaysia for a job when it rear-ended the trailer truck loaded with goods.

Police believe the driver, believed to be a Thai national, might have fallen asleep at the wheel. The six surviving Burmese nationals were handed over to immigration police to be deported.

An estimated 25,000 Rohingya Muslims and Bangladeshis boarded people-smugglers’ boats in the first three months of this year. They are often trafficked through Thailand and taken into the jungles, where traffickers demand ransoms to release them or smuggle them across the border to Malaysia.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, migrants are those who choose to move not because of a direct threat of persecution or death, but mainly to improve their lives by finding work, or in some cases for education, family reunion, or other reasons whilst refugees are persons fleeing armed conflict or persecution in their countries.

There are approximately two million documented migrant workers in Malaysia. This makes up almost 15% of the total workforce. Of these, a majority come from countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, Indonesia and Myanmar. Additionally, there are around four million more undocumented workers.

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Jon Whitman

Jon Whitman is a seasoned journalist and author who has been living and working in Asia for more than two decades. Born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, Jon has been at the forefront of some of the most important stories coming out of China in the past decade. After a long and successful career in East sia, Jon is now semi-retired and living in the Outer Hebrides. He continues to write and is an avid traveller and photographer, documenting his experiences across the world.

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