Thai nationals sentenced to death

Sept 25, 2009 (DVB), Two Thai nationals found guilty of the murder of four Burmese men in western Thailand have been sentenced to death by a court in the town of Mae Sot, close to the Burmese border.

The four men, all of whom were migrant labourers, had been working on a corn plantation in Ban Jaidee Koh, near to Mae Sot, when in September 2007 they were handcuffed and taken to a nearby village.

They were then shot dead. A fifth man who had also been taken was shot, but managed to escape to another village, where he was then taken to hospital.

The two Thai men, identified as Nai Payom, 45, and Nai Phalom, were sentenced on Tuesday. They have been given a month to appeal the verdict.

Speaking to DVB yesterday, the aunt of one of the victims, 35-year-old Ah Htun, expressed her continued anger at the murder. "I feel like eating those guys alive," she said.

The exact number of Burmese migrants living in Thailand is unknown, although estimates range up to two million.

Many of these are have no legal status in Thailand, and therefore struggle to acquire the same labour rights that registered workers do.

A system set up by the Thai government was put into action in July this year that would see the verification of Burmese migrants at various centres along the Thai-Burma border.

Reporting by Maung Too

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