Illegal migrants en ruote to Malaysia caught in Ranong

Illegal migrants en ruote to Malaysia caught in Ranong

Fourteen illegal job seekers from Myanmar are caught hiding in a forested area in Ranong province on Tuesday. (Photo: Achadthaya Chuenniran)
Fourteen illegal job seekers from Myanmar are caught hiding in a forested area in Ranong province on Tuesday. (Photo: Achadthaya Chuenniran)

RANONG: Fourteen illegal job seekers from Myanmar on their way to Malaysia were arrested in a forest in this southern province.

A combined team of navy officers and security officials in Ranong found the 14 illegal migrants, including three children under 15 years, in Mu Koh Ranong National Park in tambon Ngao of Muang district on Tuesday morning, said the Region 3 Thai Maritime Enforcement Command Centre.

During questioning, they told the officers that they had travelled from Yangon, Irrawaddy and Mawlamyine townships in Myanmar for jobs in Malaysia. Myanmar job brokers took them to Koh Song 10 days ago. A long-tailed boat later took them to the forested area on Sunday night.   

They were waiting for job brokers to take them to the Malaysian border. They had to pay 6,000 ringgit or about 48,000 baht each to the job brokers.

The migrants took Covid-19 tests before being sent to a quarantine facility at the 415th border patrol police in Muang district of Ranong, where they would be quarantined for 14 days.

They would then be handed over to immigration officers for legal proceedings.

Adisorn Kerdmongkol, a representative of a migrant labour development network, estimated that 80,000 illegal border crossers, most of them from Myanmar, were caught in Thailand last year. As many as 100,000 more probably slipped past the authorities and were now employed in major provinces, he added.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has said all parties involved should step up efforts to register workers from neighbouring countries so that they can be employed legally in Thailand, where a labour shortage is threatening the economic recovery.

The Federation of Thai Industries has said that the country faces a shortage of about 800,000 migrant workers needed for the manufacturing, service and tourism sectors.

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