Authorities announced yesterday that seven Vietnamese nationals, two men and five women, were arrested after illegally crossing the Thai-Malaysian border into Thailand in Narathiwat’s Sungai Kolok district on Monday night.
They were caught at 11 pm after crossing the Sungai Kolok River from Malaysia’s Kelantan State to Kwa Ro Sila in tambon Pasemat by boat, Sungai Kolok district chief Rungruang Thimabut said.
During questioning, it emerged that the two men had worked illegally at a factory in Malaysia. The five women also entered Malaysia illegally and drifted from place to place seeking employment.
After Malaysian authorities began cracking down on illegal migrants, they sought out brokers to help them sneak across the border into Thailand.
When their boat landed on the Thai side of the border, the Malaysian brokers jumped overboard on seeing Thai officials and swam back to Malaysia, Mr Thimabut said.
Officials also found a mobile phone nearby which might have belonged to a Thai contact who fled when witnessing the arrests, he added.
The owner is being traced and any Thai involved with the smuggling would likely face prosecution for trafficking and flouting anti-coronavirus rules.
Meanwhile, in Sa Kaeo province, 10 Cambodian men were caught while heading to Rong Kluea border market in Aranyaprathet district after crawling under the border fence with Cambodia.
Soldiers on patrol spotted and detained the group, who did not have any travel documents on them.
They were subjected to COVID-19 screening, before being questioned.
The 10 were quoted as telling officials that they wanted jobs at the market and that hundreds of people were preparing to cross the border to escape the COVID-19 situation in Cambodia.
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