18 starving migrants caught in Songkhla forest

SONGKHLA: Eighteen illegal Myanmar migrant workers were arrested on Friday after they had been in hiding in a forest in Sadao district for four days without food while waiting for transport to Malaysia. A Myanmar woman who took care of the illegal migrants was later caught.

A team of anti-human trafficking officials, police and soldiers found the migrants in a forest in tambon Khao Meekiart, about 2km deep from Khlong Ngae-Na Thawi Road on Friday morning.

The group of 16 men and two women took refuge in a makeshift tent camouflaged by leaves, said a member of the team.

Authorities extended the investigation to arrest a Myanmar caretaker at a rented room in tambon Khlong Ngae of Sadao district. The woman was tasked with taking care of them.

The migrants told police via an interpreter that a broker had sent them to the forest four days ago and they were told not to make any noise. While hiding, they ate banana stems and drank water from a creek for their survival.

The Myanmar caretaker told police she did not send them food because Malaysian brokers had not transferred money to her. With no money, she had to leave her countrymen in the forest until a vehicle was sent to transport them to Malaysia.

An official said illegal migrant workers from Myanmar usually left their country during this time of year. They sneak across the Thai-Myanmar borders in small groups before gathering along border areas near Malaysia to wait for transport into the country.

Written by Assawin Pakkawan
Source: Bangkok Post
Published on 14 June 2019
Link: https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/general/1695208/18-starving-migrants-caught-in-songkhla-forest

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