Dozens of Burmese migrants arrested at Thai-Myanmar border for entering illegally

Photo via Facebook/ Kanchanaburi News

As many flee Myanmar to escape violence following the February military coup, Thai border patrol arrested 60 Burmese migrants yesterday for crossing the Thai-Myanmar border illegally into Kanchanaburi. Another 52 migrants in the province were arrested on Monday. Officers suspect many entered Thailand in search of jobs.

The migrants were charged with illegal entry as well as violating emergency orders and the Communicable Disease Act. Yesterday, most of the migrants were caught hiding in a forest in the Muang district by the Thai army’s Lat Ya Task Force. Apparently, the migrants had walked for 7 days. They told officers they walked on natural paths from the Myanmar city Dawei to the Thai border.

They told officers that they had paid Burmese job brokers 13,000 to 20,000 baht each to set them up with work in Thailand and they told the migrants to wait in the forest to be picked up. They say they were set to work in Nakhon Pathom, Ratchaburi, Samut Sakhon, and Bangkok.

Another 9 migrants were caught by border patrol in the district yesterday evening. Officers say they were also seeking work in Thailand and had paid brokers 15,000 baht each to set them up with jobs in Pathum Thani and Samut Sakhon.

On Monday, migrants were found hiding in a forest on a mountain slope Sai Yok district. Police say the migrants were carrying suitcases filled with clothes, but it’s unclear if the group was entering Thailand to escape violence or to look for jobs. Temperatures were checked as a screening for Covid-19 and none of them had a fever.

Thailand tightened patrol along the Myanmar border after a spike in Covid-19 cases in the neighbouring country last year. Following the December outbreak affecting a large migrant population at a fishing hub in Samut Sakhon, southwest of Bangkok, Thai authorities said they would focus on cracking down on illegal labour traffickers rather than migrant workers.

In the past, many have feared that those entering the country illegally, skipping the mandatory quarantine period and the required Covid-19 tests, could potentially lead to coronavirus outbreaks in Thailand.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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