More Thais wade home across the river

More Thais wade home across the river

Thai workers, some carrying children, cross the Kolok River in Narathiwat, returning home illegally from Malaysia, and are taken into military custody. (Photo by Waedao Harai)
Thai workers, some carrying children, cross the Kolok River in Narathiwat, returning home illegally from Malaysia, and are taken into military custody. (Photo by Waedao Harai)

NARATHIWAT: Thirty-three Thai workers stranded in Malaysia waded across the Kolok river, some carrying children, and illegally re-entered their home country on Friday, in breach of the coronavirus lockdown.

They were fined 800 baht each and later sent to their home provinces for 14-day quarantine to ensure they were not infected with Covid-19.

A ranger unit spotted them crossing from the Malaysian bank.

They were the latest group to cross illegally back into Thailand, as thousands more wait to be filtered through the five border crossings that were reopened to cater for them, a few at a time. 

Officials argue that a mass return would overwhelm the facilities available to receive, disperse and quarantine them. 

Soldiers from the 48th Ranger Regiment special task force have been stationed at natural crossings along the porous border in the province, in anticipation that more standed workers would take matter ito their own hands and avoid the slow, bureaucratic process involving letters from the embassy or consulate and costly coronavirus-free health certificates.

Thousands of Thai workers were stranded, their jobs gone, when Malaysia imposed a curfew and closed the border. Thailand followed suit.

(Photo by Waedao Harai)


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