Twenty-six illegal Burmese migrants found crammed inside a small covered truck were arrested in Kanchanaburi, western Thailand, early on Wednesday morning.
Highway police flagged down the Isuzu MU-7 passenger vehicle for a search on a road in tambon Ban Kao in Muang district around 5am following a tip-off that illegal immigrants would be smuggled via this route, Pol Maj Pitak Wongwanit, highway police investigation chief, said on Wednesday.
Instead of stopping, the driver sped past them and the police gave chase. The driver later stopped the vehicle at Ban Kao intersection and ran away, but was later caught.
Police found 26 Burmese immigrants – nine women and 17 men – jam-packed inside the vehicle. None had any travel documents. They had been sneaked into the country via Ban Pu Namron border checkpoint.
The illegal immigrants were detained for interrogation before being deported to Burma, officially known as Myanmar.
Driver Somkhuan Seeda, 42, a native of Kanchanaburi, told police that he had been hired for 500 baht (US15.60) a trip to transport migrants to Tha Maka district in the border province. He said he had done it twice before.
Police were not convinced by his story and he was detained for further investigation.
This article was originally published in the Bangkok Post on 29 April 2015.