More Thai workers illegally arrive home from Malaysia

More Thai workers illegally arrive home from Malaysia

Thai workers wade through the Kolok River from Malaysia to illegally enter Thailand in Sungai Kokok district of Narathiwat on Sunday. (Photo by Waedao Harai)
Thai workers wade through the Kolok River from Malaysia to illegally enter Thailand in Sungai Kokok district of Narathiwat on Sunday. (Photo by Waedao Harai)

NARATHIWAT: Twenty-five more Thai workers were arrested for illegal border crossing after wading across the Kolok River from Malaysia to Thailand on Sunday morning. They were placed in a 14-day quarantine after being charged with illegal entry.

They were part of a group of Thai workers left stranded in Malaysia, which has extended its lockdown order to May 12.

The workers were apprehended on the Thai side of the river by a team of rangers from the 48th Ranger Regiment patrolling along a three-kilometre stretch of the river after learning that a large number of Thai workers had opted to cross the border via natural channels.

The 25 were taken to the Sungai Kolok border checkpoint where they were charged with illegal entry. From there, they were to be further sent to their home provinces for a 14-day quarantine, pending legal action.

Sukipli Masari, a Thai worker who worked at a Thai food restaurant in Kuala Lumpur for over ten years, said he left the Malaysian capital city on Saturday night without any money in his pocket. He had not eaten anything since leaving Kuala Lumpur.

He said he and many others decided to cross the border via the Sungai Kolok river fully aware it was illegal. In order to return via the legal border checkpoints, they needed money and travel documents.

"We badly wanted to come home. It is time for Ramadan," Mr Sukipli said.

Mr Sukipli said he was treated unexpectedly well by police and military officers on arriving home. After having their temperatures taken, they were given plenty of food and advice.

"I would like to send a message to my friends back in Malaysia that they should not worry about travelling. Just come back home and go through all legal proceedings as advised by the authorities," he said.

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