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Thai Migrant Smugglers Pose Greatest Covid-19 Threat to Reopening

Thailand Myanmar Kanchanaburi Burmese Illegal Migrant Workers Human Trafficking SMuggling

As Thailand readies to reopen, the greatest threat of a new coronavirus outbreak is not from the fully vaccinated foreign tourists due to arrive Nov. 1, but from illegal migrants being smuggled across the border.

About 400 more Burmese aliens were captured already this week in Kanchanaburi, refugees of both the ongoing coup-related strife and Myanmar’s economic collapse and facilitated by Thai or Burmese actors in Thailand.

Monday evening, border agents rounded up 71 illegal Myanmar migrants in Sai Yok District. They said they were waiting for transport to their workplaces in Samut Sakhon, Bangkok, Nakhon Pathom, Saraburi, Chonburi and Kanchanaburi provinces.

They were to be paid 17,000-20,000 baht each to Thai brokers when they arrived at their destinations.

All were charged with illegal immigration and violation to the disease-control measures of Kanchanaburi’s communicable disease committee.

They were among 260 illegal Myanmar migrants arrested on Oct. 25.

On Sunday, officials also apprehended 120 illegals. On both days, the number of arrested illegal migrants in Kanchanaburi reached 380.