Nearly 400 illegal Myanmar migrant workers were arrested while illegally crossing the natural border in Kanchanaburi over the past two days, officials from the Lat Ya Task Force reported yesterday, October 25th.
As of 5:00 PM. yesterday, the force had arrested 71 illegal Myanmar nationals, including 36 men and 35 women, who were reportedly hiding in a dense forest in the Sai Yok district. All of them had their body temperature preliminary checked but none were found with a higher temperature than 37.5 degrees celsius.
According to initial questioning, they were required to pay 17,000-20,000 baht each in order to get through the Thailand-Myanmar border and reach their destinations in Samut Sakhon, Bangkok, Nakhon Pathom, Saraburi, and Chonburi. Many stated they were returning because Thailand was “reopening” to tourism and most sectors had resumed work, giving them hope that they could find employment.
They were primarily charged with illegal immigration under the Immigration Act and violation of the provincial disease control measures issued by Kanchanaburi’s communicable disease committee.
Local media also reported that an additional 260 illegal Myanmar migrants were arrested in the past two days since October 24th, marking a total of 380 illegal Myanmar migrants arrested in Kanchanaburi on both days.
Officials noted that the numbers had seemed to increase substantially recently, with many Thai nationals fearing that illegal immigration was increasing due to relaxing of lockdown and closure measures and for people looking for work that they could not find in their countries. The illegal border crossings come while poll results conducted by various national polling centers show that many Thai people are still cautious and afraid of reopening borders legally to foreign tourism without quarantine but with many steps, rules, and testing.
Meanwhile, critics on social media have continued to point out that the real danger, according to them, is not foreign tourists returning with various tests and paperwork checks but porous borders with no checks and a high level of interest from illegal migrants in looking for work, sparked by the reopening.
Photo Courtesy: Naewna
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