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1000 migrant workers arrested in Thailand

Nov 1, 2007 (DVB), Over 1000 Burmese migrant workers were arrested early yesterday morning in mass raids on houses in Mahachai district in Thailand's Samutsakorn province, one worker told DVB.

Around 500 Thai police officers carried out the raid at around 4am yesterday morning, said one migrant worker who witnessed the raid.

"They raided the area house by house and arrested everyone, even children," the worker said.

Mahachai district is about 2 hours from Bangkok and has a large population of Burmese migrant workers.

Thai government figures say there are currently 500,000 migrant workers in the district, of whom only around 90,000 are registered.

"We heard that the Thai police have information on around 400,000 workers living in the area without registration," said the worker.

It is not clear if the 1,000 workers who were arrested will be deported back to Burma or jailed.

The migrant worker said that many people are afraid they will be sent back to Burma.

"Some workers are hiding from arrest in the fields because they don't want to go back to Burma and live in poverty with no job. At least by staying in Bangkok they can earn between 200 and 250 baht a day and do not have to worry about food and living expenses," he said.

Reporting by Maung Too

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