6 June 2024

Two Nigerians were arrested by Thai border security forces yesterday after they slipped across the Thai-Cambodian border into Ta Phraya district of the eastern province of Sa Kaeo, reportedly to apply for passports in Thailand.

One told Thai authorities that they opened a business in Vietnam in 2018, but subsequently moved to Cambodia after Vietnam was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

After operating a clothes store in Cambodia for two years, one of them lost their passport, but could not apply for a new onebecause there is no Nigerian consular office in Cambodia. So,both decided to come to Thailand.

He also said that he hired another Nigerian on Sunday to drive them to a location near the border, opposite Ta Phraya district,where a smuggling gang would arrange for their entry into Thailand via a natural crossing, at a cost of about 32,000 baht.

Both spent two nights at a shelter and sneaked across the border on foot on Tuesday. They were then arrested in the middle of a sugarcane plantation.

The two illegal immigrants passed body temperature checks and were sent to the Ta Phraya district police station pending prosecution.

The Thai government has ordered security to be beefed up at the borders, to stop the entry of illegal immigrants, fearing that they may bring the COVID-19 Omicron variant into Thailand.