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Twenty-eight illegal Burmese migrants were rescued from the back of a poorly ventilated pickup truck in Thailand’s Chumphon province and their two alleged traffickers arrested, police said.
Highway police searched a modified Isuzu pickup with a Surat Thani license plate at a checkpoint on Phetkasem Road in the Wang Phai district of this southern province at about 6.30pm on Wednesday.
Inside they found 20 men and 8 women packed in the back of the vehicle, which was modified into a container with one ventilation hole. Most of the Burmese [Myanmar] migrants appeared exhausted.
Driver Chaiyut Cherdram, 34, of Ranong province, and another Burmese man sitting in the front were also caught.
Pol Maj Supat Chotkraisin, inspector of Highway Police Station 4 in Chumphon said the illegal migrants were transported perilously and faced a risk of suffocation.
Police said Mr Chaiyut told them he had been hired by a woman identified only as “Jae Nui” to transport the migrants from Ranong province to Surat Thani.
Win, 21, one of the illegal migrants, said all workers had to stand crammed in the back of the vehicle, which was dark and poorly ventilated. Women stood near the ventilation hole and they took turns with others to breathe through the narrow space to survive, he said
All were taken to the Highway Police Station 4 for further legal proceedings. Police would extend the investigation to arrest those involved in the trafficking of illegals.
This article was originally published in the Bangkok Post on 5 February 2015.