Cops arrest illegals inside cave hideout

Cops arrest illegals inside cave hideout

Myanmar migrants leave a cave in Kanchanaburi's Thong Pha Phum district. (Photo: Piyarach Chongcharoen)
Myanmar migrants leave a cave in Kanchanaburi's Thong Pha Phum district. (Photo: Piyarach Chongcharoen)

Police arrested more than 80 illegal Myanmar migrants who were in hiding in a cave in Kanchanaburi on Thursday.

Pol Col Santi Pitaksakul, chief of Thong Pha Phum police station and Lat Ya special force, led officers to arrest the 83 Myanmar nationals who were smuggled into Thailand.

The illegal migrants, who were hiding in the cave in Thong Pha Phum district, were waiting to be sent to prospective employers.

Assanai Praikaew, 48, who was hired to oversee the trafficking operation, was also arrested.

Police said they received a tipoff about the trafficking of illegal immigrants in the area.

As police drove on the road leading to the cave, they met a pickup truck carrying a group of people which was followed by an orange sedan that tried to flee the scene.

After a chase, the police successfully stopped the sedan and arrested its driver, Mr Assanai.

Inside the sedan, police found 20 food boxes and two packs of drinking water which Mr Assanai said were for the migrants.

Police then investigated the cave and located the migrants who weren't carrying passports or migrant documents.

The migrants were then sent to Thong Pha Phum police station.

Mr Assanai said he was hired by an unidentified man to bring food and drinks to the migrants, who had been hiding in the cave since Wednesday.

He was then charged with assisting in trafficking migrants into Thailand. Police are searching for others involved.

The migrants told police they entered Thailand near the Ban Phra Chedi Sam Ong border crossing in Sangkhlaburi district which connects with Payatongsu district of Myanmar. They then had a guide lead them through a forest to avoid detection. It took them two days to arrive at the cave.

The migrants are all of working age and most were planning to head to other nearby provinces to secure jobs.

They said they paid agents 20,000-28,000 baht each to be smuggled into Thailand.

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