More than 300 undocumented Burmese migrants have been arrested in connection with a killing of a Thai national in Thailand and are reportedly facing difficulties in detention.
A total of 323 migrant workers were arrested between June 1 to 6 when Thai security forces conducted house-to-house search operations.
This is the first time that hundreds of undocumented Burmese migrants have been arrested in Thailand in connection to a crime.
Those being questioned are said to be being held in three different police stations, with 270 detained in a Thai border guard compound.
Thai authorities are unable to adequately provide for the arrested migrants due to the large number of those involved, said Berry, a leader of the Migrant Workers Rights Network (MWRN), an organization which helps Burmese migrant workers.
“Three from the first group of detainees were reportedly beaten during interrogation… Most of the undocumented migrant workers were aiming to go to Malaysia and did not even have an extra set of clothes to change into. Some do not even have shoes anymore,” he said.
Despite Thai authorities providing food, more still needs to be done to help the detainees, he said.
“Burmese people eat much more than rice — it is not enough.”
The aid worker and his team are reported to have distributed food and clothing to the detainees and MWRN is actively looking to provide further assistance to those implicated.
According to Berry, some undocumented Burmese job seekers detained in Thailand’s Songkhla Police Station lack the means to cover transportation fees to return to Burma. There are currently around 500 Burmese job seekers caught while illegally crossing the border being held in Songkhla.
Berry said that detainees are being asked to pay THB8,500 (~US$250) per person for transportation to the Thai-Burma border upon release. Despite having dates set for their release, some of those being held have been unable to return to their homes for over a year as they lack the means to cover bail.