An illegal Burmese migrant was was returned by Thai authorities was shot dead by Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) soldiers on Tuesday at Zero Gate in Myawaddy Township opposite Mae Sot on the Thai-Burma border, according to a witness.
Zero Gate, a border crossing point on the Burmese side, is controlled by the DKBA, an ally of the Burmese regime.
“DKBA troops shot the man after they tortured him because he tried to escape from Zero gate,” the witness said.
The man, about 17 years old, was a Burmese Muslim who was arrested by Thai immigration officials at Mae Sot and returned back to the Burmese side to DKBA Zero Gate during the second week of February, according to the source, who said he witnessed the incident. The source said he crossed over into Thailand after paying 1,200 baht. He said that Burmese migrants deported from Thailand through the DKBA checkpoint have to pay 1,200 baht to reenter Burma.
“The man was afraid because the DKBA told him that if he couldn’t pay enough money, he would be sent to a force labor camp,” said the source. “The man tried to escape, but he was caught and torture and finally he was shot by DKBA soldiers on the same day.”
At least 2 million Burmese migrants work in Thailand, most of them illegal.
Burmese illegal migrants from across the country are returned to Burma through Thai- Burma border gates. Mae Sot is a major border crossing between the two countries.