72 Myanmar nationals were arrested in Kanchanaburi’s Muang district on Thursday and charged with illegal entry, according to local authorities.
Col Chalermpol Sangtong, attached to the Surasi Task Force, said the group, who was hiding on a mountainside in tambon Ban Kao, was rounded up during a routine patrol to curb the smuggling of illegal workers.
He said none of the detainees had permits to enter Thailand and claimed they had paid a broker between 12,000 and 15,000 baht each to be taken for work in Samut Sakhon, Samut Prakan, Ratchaburi, and Bangkok.
There were reportedly 42 men, 24 women, and 6 children in the group.
After the money was paid, a guide led them on a walk through forests and hills from Myanmar’s Dawei city into Kanchanaburi, the adults reportedly told the authorities. Before leaving them, the guide told them someone would arrive to pick them up, they said.
The migrants reportedly waited for three nights, but nobody showed up to collect them as promised. They then ran out of drinking water and food, and decided to go down the mountain to find some, and were caught.
These latest arrests prompted provincial authorities to convene an urgent meeting after more than 200 other illegal Myanmar migrants were caught in this western province in just four days.
Provincial governor Jeerakiart Phumsawat called for a meeting with the Thai-Myanmar township border committee to discuss the influx of illegal migrants and draw up measures to solve the problem.
The meeting was held in a conference hall in Sai Yok district yesterday morning.
Border security patrol units of soldiers, police, and local officials arrested 203 illegal migrants and four Thais who were allegedly abetting them, in Muang and Sai Yok districts between Monday and Thursday.
All were said to have come from Dawei township ready to start jobs supposedly arranged for them.