Crackdown on illegal Burmese migrants

Feb 27, 2009 (DVB), About 600 people have been arrested in Mae Sot over the last two days during a crackdown by Thai authorities on illegal Burmese migrants in the border town.

A Mae Sot resident said that Thai authorities were making surprise early-morning raids on migrant-populated parts of the town.

One illegal Burmese migrant, who escaped arrest by fleeing into nearby farmlands when her neighbourhood was raided at around 5am yesterday, said the Thai police were quite aggressive with the operation.

"A lot of people were arrested in their living quarters," he said. "The police officers broke open their doors and beat up those who tried to flee."

"I managed to escape by running into nearby fields."

Migrant right activists in Mae Sot said those who were arrested were being detained in three different places in town and they were likely to be sent back to Kyauk Kyi Lone immigration detention camp in Myawaddy border town on the Burmese side.

Meanwhile, Burmese residents in Mae Sot have said some businesses in town had been halted as their Burmese employees were unable to come to work due to the crackdown.

Reporting by Ahunt Phone Myat

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