11 July 2024

Thai officials arrested 20 Laotians, as they snuck across the border from Malaysia into Su-ngai Kolok district of Thailand’s Narathiwat province, on Wednesday night.

Two pickup trucks, which were supposed to take the illegal immigrants back to the Lao PDR via the northeastern province of Nong Khai, were also confiscated.

The Thai security forces were on a routine patrol, along the Su-ngai Kolok River demarcating the border between Thailand and Malaysia in Su-ngai Kolok district, stumbled on a group of people, who were later found out to be Laotians, as they were emerging from the river.

As the officials ordered them to stop, they ran into the bushes before they were rounded up and escorted to Moono police station, where health officials conducted temperature checks as a precaution against the possible spread of COVID-19.

The Laotians reportedly told police that they worked on fishing boats in Malaysia and they paid a human trafficking gang 8,000 baht each to arrange for their return to the Lao PDR.