Police were acting on a tip-off that the vehicles belonged to a gang that brings illegal labourers into Thailand from Malaysia.
“The Myanmar suspects said that they had paid an agency in Malaysia a fee of 3,000 ringgit [over THB20,000] to take them across the border,” said an officer from Sadao Police Station.
“Once they entered Songkhla, the taxis would pick them up. They had to pay another fee to transport them to destinations in Thailand.”
The drivers of the taxis, Abdulroman and Siriwat, both Thai nationals aged 47 and 51 years respectively, reportedly said that they had done this twice; the first time they had smuggled four migrant labourers into Thailand.
One of the Myanmar detainees reportedly said that he decided to leave Malaysia after going there and being unable to find a job due to the Covid-19 situation. Also, the Malaysian government was cracking down on migrant labourers and would have sent him back to Myanmar if he had been arrested.
All the detained suspects were kept in isolation while their symptoms will be closely monitored.
Public health officials will put them through detailed testing, especially to check if they carry the mutated Indian or South African strains of the Covid-19 virus, which had been reported in Malaysia earlier this month.
Published : May 10, 2021
By : THE NATION