Myanmar labourers repatriated

Myanmar labourers repatriated

Migrant workers at Aranyaprathet Municipal Office, Sa Kaeo province. (File photo: Bangkok Post)
Migrant workers at Aranyaprathet Municipal Office, Sa Kaeo province. (File photo: Bangkok Post)

RANONG: Myanmar authorities visited Ranong to repatriate 670 illegal workers after they held a protest on Jan 28 about being detained and demanded they be returned to their homeland, marking the biggest such transfer of immigrant workers to date in the province.

Officials from both sides, including Ranong administrative officers, witnessed the departure of the first batch of workers from Ranong Customs House Pier. They were set to arrive in Myanmar's Kawthaung town on Thursday via the authority's motor boats. The 670 workers comprise 534 men and 136 women.

According to RAdm Suchart Thampitakwet, deputy commander of the Third Naval Area Command, they had been detained at the province's immigration checkpoint for four to six months.

All were charged with illegal immigration and were waiting to be deported, said the deputy commander of the Immigration Bureau's Ranong Office, Pol Lt Gen Phitsanu Biakaew.

Pol Lt Gen Phitsanu said Myanmar has measures in place that only allow 100 to 200 people to return at a time.

But for some reason, the country stopped accepting repatriations, so Thailand's Immigration Bureau was unable to send the workers home, he said.

On Jan 28, they protested with paper signs stating they wished to go home. Some shouted similar messages from the rooftop of their building. All of them are now expected to be sent back by next week.

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