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Smuggling gang arrested

Nineteen illegal job seekers from Myanmar and six Thai men were arrested at a house in Sangkhla Buri district on Saturday.

Police, soldiers and immigration officers searched the house at Tikhrong village in tambon Prang Phle, following information that a group of illegal migrants were taken there pending transportation to inner areas, said Pol Col  Thanakorn Rodthong, chief of Sangkhla Buri police.

The arresting team found 12 men and seven women inside the house. All were illegal migrants from Myanmar. A Thai man, identified only as Pui, and his five aides who took the migrants to the house were arrested.

The team seized 53,660 baht hidden in a book, a motorcycle and five mobile phones from the house.

During questioning, Mr Pui admitted that he was a job broker, and he and his five accomplices smuggled the Myanmar nationals from Payatongsu, a border town opposite Sangkhla Buri. 

Motorcycles and boats were used to transport the migrants across the border. They were then taken to his house while waiting for vehicles to pick them up. The migrants were charged 32,000 baht per head, the suspect said.

The migrants told the arresting team that they had travelled from several provinces in their country to get work in Thailand.

They said internal instability and lack of jobs in their country drove them to cross the border illegally to take a risk for better life in Thailand.

Officials conducted temperature checks on the migrants and their temperatures were normal.

The migrants and the Thai men were handed over to Sangkhla Buri for legal action.

A source said joint patrols of security offices and local officials arrested 37 illegal border crossers from Myanmar and five guides at five locations in border areas in Thong Pha Phum and Sangkhla Buri on Friday.

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Nineteen Myanmar nationals arrested for illegal entry are taken to Sangkhla Buri police station on Saturday. (Photo: Piyarat Chongcharoen)

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