Migrants seeking work held in Chachoengsao for illegal entry
Chachoengsao: Scores of Cambodian migrants, including children, were detained along with five suspected smugglers in Muang district yesterday.
They were discovered during a joint operation by police and soldiers from the Internal Security Operations Command. Those arrested were mostly migrants seeking to return to work in the kingdom amid the Covid-19 outbreak.
Pol Gen Natthorn Prosunthorn, director of the transnational crime suppression centre at the Royal Thai Police, yesterday told a press briefing five local traffickers were helping the 88 migrants cross illegally into the kingdom.
The pandemic appears to be subsiding in the kingdom. The last time authorities recorded a locally infected case was more than 40 days ago. The government has been gradually easing lockdown measures to reboot the economy.
The migrants and their smugglers were intercepted as an increasing number of foreign nationals enter the country through natural borders looking for work amid the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.
The easing of the lockdown has pushed up demand for domestic employees and with it attempts to smuggle in people illegally.
The five suspected traffickers were identified as Chawalit, Viroj, Sudon, Ong-ard and Nattapon.
The police confiscated five cars and held the Cambodians, some of whom brought their children along with them to cross the border.
Pol Gen Natthorn said the five are part of a gang of smugglers and Cambodian agents promised migrant workers safe passage back to Thailand.
He said the Cambodians paid the gang 4,000 baht each to return to the country.
The commissioner said the migrants set out on foot along the border from Cambodia's Poipet province for about 50 kilometres before they crossed into Sa Kaeo province's Ta Phraya district.
The migrants and the suspects were nabbed in tambon Khlong Nakhon Nueang Khet in Chachoengsao's Muang district.
The authorities said the Cambodians were supposed to be picked up by a Thai agent before they being placed in a safehouse in Chachoengsao. The migrants were then to be transported to various destinations across the kingdom.