SONGKHLA: Thirty-one illegal Myanmar migrants hoping to get work in Malaysia were caught at a rubber plantation near the southern border in Sadao district late on Wednesday night.
A patrol of soldiers, police and local officials found them hiding in a ditch about one kilometre from the Malaysian border in tambon Badang Besar around 10.30pm.
There were 25 men and six women, all Myanmar nationals who had entered the country illegally, team leader Col Thanitphon Hongwilai, commander of a military task force, said.
All were taken to Badang Besar police station for questioning.
The detainees told police they had travelled from Myawaddy township on the border in Myanmar and were heading for promised work in Malaysia. They had entered Thailand via a natural border crossing into Mae Sot district of Tak province, and were then taken by pickup truck to Hat Yai district of Songkhla.
From Hat Yai another vehicle dropped them close to the Malaysian border in Sadao district, and they were told to wait for assistance getting across the border.
They had been promised of jobs at restaurants, construction sites and other places. They had paid 50,000 baht each to job brokers.
Police said they would extend the investigation into the smugglers’ network. They believed Thai, Malaysian and Myanmar nationals were involved.
The detainees were taken for Covid-19 screening before legal processing and deportation to Myanmar.