Illegal job seekers, driver caught in Chiang Mai

Illegal job seekers, driver caught in Chiang Mai

Soldiers arrest 10 illegal migrants hidden in forest in Omkoi district, Chiang Mai, on Thursday by their car driver, who was also caught. (Photo: Phanumet Tanraksa)
Soldiers arrest 10 illegal migrants hidden in forest in Omkoi district, Chiang Mai, on Thursday by their car driver, who was also caught. (Photo: Phanumet Tanraksa)

CHIANG MAI: A driver hired to smuggle illegal migrants was arrested and 10 Myanmar job seekers he had hidden in a forest nearby were later caught, in Omkoi district on Thursday.

Soldiers manning a checkpoint at Sob Lan village in tambon Yang Piang of Omkoi district stopped a pickup truck with Chiang Mai licence plates for a search, acting on information  that four pickups would be smuggling illegal migrants along this route.

There were no passengers in the vehicle only the driver Seksan Supornnana, who seemed nervous, they said. A tarpaulin was found in the back of the truck. 

After intense questioning, Mr Seksan admitted he had been hired to transport illegal migrants but had abandoned them further back along the road after learning of the checkpoint ahead of him.

He said three other vehicles were also carrying illegal migrant workers. Their drivers had also dropped them off in the forest, and then fled. They would come back later to pick them up. 

Mr Seksan was then taken to the place he said he abandoned his passengers. There were 10 of them, all Myanmar nationals – three men and seven women – hiding in the forest about 100 metres back from the road. None had travel documents. 

During questioning, the migrants said they had travelled from Hpa-an town in Myanmar by boat and landed beneath the Thai-Myanmar friendship bridge in Mae Sot district of Tak, opposite Myanmar’s Myawaddy town. 

They were heading to promised jobs at three major markets, in Pathum Thani and Samut Prakan provinces - Talad Thai, Talad Rangsit and Talad Bang Phli. They had each paid 11,000 baht to job brokers.

They were taken to Omkoi police station for health screening and legal processing before deportation.

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