In Ubon Ratchathani, 14 Lao migrants travelling in a van bound for Bangkok were arrested in the small hours on Sunday in Muang district of the northeastern province.
Pol Capt Pakin Purithadawatana, a Muang traffic police officer, said the van was stopped for a search on a ring road near Big C superstore at about 1 am while it was heading out of the town.
Found in the van were 14 Lao migrants, seven men and seven women, all of them from Champassak province of Laos. The van driver was Patipol Chanthakhet, 54, from Surin’s Lamduan district.
The migrants said they took a boat from Ban Mai Singsamphan of Muang Sanasomboun across the Mekong river to the Thai side of the border at Ban Huay Mak Tai in Ubon Ratchathani’s Khong Chiam district.
From there, they were taken on a vehicle to a PTT petrol station in Tan Sum district where Mr Chanthakhet was waiting with the van. The migrants said they paid 4,000 baht each to brokers who arranged the trip.
Mr Chanthakhet said he was to be paid 15,000 baht to take the migrants from the PTT petrol station to Bangkok.
The migrants were charged with illegal entry and had their temperatures taken before being handed over to the immigration police for further action.
Sarit Withoon, the Ubon Ratchathani governor, said combined units of military, police and defence volunteers have been deployed to prevent migrants from illegally entering the country via natural border crossings.