KANCHANABURI: Police arrested a total of 66 illegal job seekers from Myanmar in Thong Pha Phum district early Monday morning, eight of them after the car they were in crashed during a police chase.
Pol Capt Pradit Raephet, of Thong Pha Phum, said that about 2am a black Honda Jazz sped past a police booth at Moo 2 village in tambon Chalae after being signalled to stop for a search. It was heading in the direction of Thong Pha Phum district town and police gave chase.
As it neared Kroeng Kawia forest park at Moo 4 village in tambon Chalae, the car ran off the winding unsealed road and ground to a halt on the dirt embankment. Police detained the driver, identified only as Jaran, 24, from tambon Chalae.
There were eight Myanmar nationals, three men and five women, packed in the back of the sedan. They sustained minor injuries. They were illegal migrants and were also arrested.
At Thong Pha Phum police station, the passengers all said they were in Thailand heading for promised work. They had paid 28,000 baht each to job agents..
They had entered through a natural border crossing into Sangkhla Buri district three days ago. Led by a guide, they took a boat across the reservoir of Vajiralongkorn Dam and landed at Thi Khrong village in tambon Prang Phle, Sangkhla Buri district. There, they hid in a forest waiting to be picked up.
On Sunday night, they set off in the car driven by Mr Jaran, heading for Thong Pha Phum district, and were caught.
Mr Jaran said he was contacted by telephone by a man who asked him to take the eight passengers from Thi Khrong village to Thong Pha Phum. He was promised 5,000 baht for the work.
The illegal migrants were charged with illegal entry and would be deported after legal proceedings. The car driver was charged with giving help to foreigners who entered the country illegally, Pol Capt Pradit said.
Also in Thong Pha Phum district, a combined military-police patrol arrested another 58 illegal border crossers at three separate spots in the early hours of Monday.
The arrests were made about 12.50am, 1.30am and 8.20am near Tha Khanum, the Moo 1 village in the district. Thirty-five and 23 women were detained, along with three Thai men acting as their guides.
The border crossers said they were from Mawlamyine, Yangon, Bago and Rakhine townships, having paid 20,000-30,000 baht each to brokers for promised jobs in Samut Sakhon, Rayong, Kanchanaburi and Bangkok.
They were charged with illegal entry and handed over to Thong Pha Phum police for legal proceedings. The Thai guides were charged with giving help to foreigners who entered the country illegally.