Thursday, August 06, 2020

Myanmar border checkpoints closed as police probe bribe claims 

Jul 05. 2017
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By The Nation

Pol Lt General Tawitchat Palasak, the commander of Provincial Police Region 6, closed two police checkpoints in Tak’s Mae Sot district on Wednesday following reports that some migrant workers returning home to Myanmar were allegedly being forced to pay bribes on leaving Thailand.

Tawitchat said the cancellation of Huai Ya Oo and Mae Thor checkpoints was a precaution move to express his agency’s sincerity. The probe into the allegations was ongoing, he said.

If the inquiry found that officials were involved in bribe collecting, they would face punishment. If it were found otherwise, police would explain the situation to Myanmar officials.

Tawitchat also said a third national security checkpoint would remain open out of necessity for preventing crimes and enabling intelligence gathering for possible smuggling cases involving drugs and other illegal items.

Earlier this week, Myanmar officials in Myawaddy urged their counterparts across the border in Tak to investigate the bribe allegations made by returning migrant workers at checkpoints on the Tak-Mae Sot Road on July 2. 

Stricter regulations on foreign labour have reportedly driven thousands of Myanmar workers back across the border. Many of them had been working in Thailand illegally and were let go by employers who were fearful of incurring heavy fines.

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