NAKHON SI THAMMARAT, SOUTHERN THAILAND – Thai police on Friday arrested 35 Burmese nationals left near a deserted shrimp farm by job recruiters who promised to return and take them to Malaysia.
Police in Tha Sala district rounded up 28 men and seven women from Burma, officially known as Myanmar, after being alerted by villagers. They were taken to the police station for questioning. Their mobile phones and IDs were also seized.
Villagers told Pol Col Cherdchai Chotsut, Tha Sala police chief, they saw two vehicles drop off their passengers at an empty farm outside the village and then speed off.
One of the Burmese men who could speak Thai told police they crossed the border from Burma to Ranong. Waiting vehicles picked them up for the journey to the southern border, where they were to cross into Malaysia and get jobs.
Their families in Burma would pay the gang after they confirmed they had arrived in Malaysia, he added.
However, a scout travelling ahead had warned the drivers of a police checkpoint on the way. They decided to drop the passengers at the farm, with a promise to return later and take them to the southern border, he said.
Pol Col Chaosilp Boonpradit, deputy chief of Nakhon Si Thammarat police, said all were charged with illegal entry. Police will expand the investigation with the aim of arresting the traffickers.
This article originally appeared in the Bangkok Post on 5 May 2017.