11 July 2024

Police intercepted two passenger vans containing 42 illegal Myanmar migrant workers on the Asian Highway in Thailand’s southern province of Surat Thani on Thursday night.

The two van drivers were taken into custody for questioning on suspicion that they might be part of a human trafficking network.

The two drivers admitted that they were each offered 25,000 baht, with 10,000 baht paid in advance, to take the Myanmar workers, including three women, from the Singkhorn border pass in Muang district of Prachuab Khiri Khan to the southern province of Yala, where they would be picked up and smuggled across the border into Malaysia.

Surat Thani provincial governor Wichavuth Jinto said today that he instructed police and social development and human security officials to investigate possible links between the Myanmar workers and human trafficking networks.

On Wednesday night, police and anti-human trafficking officials rounded up 31 illegal Myanmar migrant workers and four Rohingya youths at shelters in an oil palm plantation in Sadao district of the southern province of Songkhla.

Police said that the 35 illegal migrant workers, including 14 women from Myanmar, were ready to leave their shelters for Malaysia, with the help of human traffickers.

One Myanmar man, who looked after the group, was also taken into custody for questioning.

Police said that it was the first time they found Rohingya among the Myanmar workers, adding that the group had paid a human trafficking gang to take them to Malaysia to work.