Top cop Big Joke leaving for Myanmar to bring home 162 Thais

Top cop Big Joke leaving for Myanmar to bring home 162 Thais

Deputy national police chief Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn
Deputy national police chief Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn

Deputy national police chief Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn will leave for Yangon on Monday for talks with Myanmar authorities to bring home 162 Thais evacuated from Laukkaing, a township in northern Shan State bordering China, to a safe area.

The 162 had been lured by an internet scam gang into illegal work allegedly run by Chinese business operators in Laukkaing, the capital of the Kokang self-administered zone.

On Saturday, 29 Thai victims of the scam were reportedly helped by Myanmar authorities move from a hotel in Laukkaing where they had been in hiding. They later joined 133 others at a safe shelter inside a military camp inside Myanmar, raising the total to 162.

Pol Gen Surachate said that while in Yangon he would meet with Myanmar authorities to discuss ways of bringing the 162 Thais back to Thailand. He would then proceed to the military camp where they have been sheltered to see them.

He said some of the Thais had been victims of human trafficking while others might have been lured to work at call centres as phone scam operators.

As fierce fighting between the Myanmar army and armed ethnic minority groups is raging in the area, Pol Gen Surachate said the 162 Thais might have to be first moved across the border to Kunming in China. From there, flights could be arranged to bring them home by air, he said.

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