Burmese migrant workers were arrested by Thai police last night around 8 p.m. Three boats transporting about 33 Mon migrants were seized by police in Rangnon while they tried to enter Thailand.

Burmese migrant workers seized by Thai police in Rangnon
Tue 23 Jun 2009, IMNA, Mon Son
Burmese migrant workers were arrested by Thai police last night around 8 p.m. Three boats transporting about 33 Mon migrants were seized by police in Rangnon while they tried to enter Thailand.

“33 migrants are at the Rangnon police station. No one has tried to pick them up from the Thai police; their brokers [and friends/family] also fear being arrested by the authorities,” said a boat owner from Kawthoung Township.

The arrested Burmese migrants are from Moulmein, Mudon and Thanphyuzayat townships, Mon State. At present, Kawthoung authorities will not allow residents from areas outside Tenasserim division to enter the city via boat.

This order comes after 11 migrants were killed when a boat sank between Kawthoung and Rangnon on May 22. Kawthoung is a main entry point for migrant workers hoping to travel to Thailand.

“The Kawthoung authorities banned people from other divisions [and states] from crossing into Kawthoung township from Tavoy township by boat, however authorities allow people entering by car,” said a Kawthoung resident.

Many migrant workers travel by ferry boat from Tavoy to Kawthoung because it takes only a day, it can carry 200 passengers, and there are no government check points. The cost for one person is 40,000 kyat.

To travel the same distance by car is more expensive than by boat and it takes twice as long. Many drivers must stop to sleep along the mountainous route, which also has many checkpoints.

“If migrant workers go to Kawthoung Township by car, they have to pay 5,000 kyat to cross the Kawthoung check point gate. Anyone can go to the Township after they pay the money,” added the Kawthoung resident.

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