Six Chinese nationals have been arrested in the Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai for allegedly entering Thailand illegally and defying the travel ban imposed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
The six were later identified as Liang Shougen, 28, Zhu Haiyan, 38, Yuan Dong, 35, Zhao Guoyou, 26, Liao Chi, 20, and Cao Yong, 39.
They were accused of illegally entering the kingdom via a natural channel from Myanmar.
Niwat Yodsaen, 34, a Thai national, was also apprehended for bringing the Chinese nationals into the country. Police seized 11 mobile phones from them.
The arrests were made on Tuesday after authorities received a tip-off from informants about a human smuggling network.
The Chinese were detained at a shopping mall in tambon Wiang Phang Kham of Mae Sai district, police said on Wednesday.
Police said an investigation determined that two more Chinese people managed to escape arrest and a hunt for them was underway.
Police said Niwat had been hired by two women, known only as Ms Mod and Ms New, for 2,000 baht to pick up the Chinese from the mall in Mae Sai district and drive them to Tak’s Mae Sot district.
The Chinese suspects allegedly told police that they worked at a casino in Myanmar’s Tachileik district and they decided to flee Myanmar because of the COVID-19 situation there escalating.