The Thai navy announced that 16 Chinese nationals were arrested for illegally entering the country through natural channels along the Thai-Lao border in Nong Khai.
Commander of the Mekong Riverine Unit in Nong Khai Warat Kopolrat said the group was arrested on Saturday night along the banks of the Mekong River while attempting to enter Muang district.
Capt Kopolrat said the Chinese nationals were spotted and arrested by officials patrolling the river.
Investigations are still underway as to why they entered Thailand illegally, but officials suspected they were trying to avoid the mandatory 14-day quarantine requirement, which is required of all foreign arrivals due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
None of those arrested had any identification documents with them, Capt Kopolrat said, adding the group is currently detained at Nong Khai police station.
Separately, the chief of Border Patrol Police Division 146, Samrit Chanpratad, said in Prachuap Khiri Khan’s Muang district yesterday said five Myanmar citizens were caught sneaking into Thailand through a natural border crossing in tambon Huai Sai.
Pol Maj Samrit said they have been tested for COVID-19 and their test results were negative.
Of those arrested, three men said they came from Mawlamyine in Myanmar. They said they paid migrant smugglers 20,000 baht each to take them to an employer in Samut Sakhon, he said.
The remainder, a mother and her child, came from Tanintharyi in Myanmar’s Myeik province, Pol Maj Samrit said, adding she crossed the border to meet her husband, who works in Thap Sakae district. Sources said police have opened 24-hour checkpoints nearby all trails along the border to block Myanmar migrants from illegally entering the country.