|Monday, 29 November 2010 00:00
A female worker, who is about age 50 and holds a temporary passport, was arrested twice within a few hours by the police in Mae Sot.
Daw Htay, the arrested woman, works at the Daycha Phanit fishing-net factory, Khon Kaen, on the Thai-Lao border. She heard that her mother who was living in Swelay village, Beelin Township, Mon state of Burma had passed away. She was travelling home to attend her mother’s funeral ceremony but was arrested on her way.
Daw Htay was arrested near the Mae Tao clinic when she arrived in Mae Sot and had to pay the police 400 baht for her release. Then she was arrested again when she went to the immigration office to apply for a re-entry visa. She was sent to jail. Daw Htay explained that she was arrested because she had no work permit.
“I planned my trip quickly when I heard that my mom passed away. Everything was fine on my way and nothing happened when I entered Mae Sot. I came to stay with the younger brother of my husband who lives in Mae Sot. I showed my temporary passport but they still arrested me because I have no work permit. I had to pay 400 baht. Then I came to the Immigration office and they didn’t accept my explanation. They arrested me and brought me by car to a 2-story jail.”
“I was in shock. I had the phone number for BAT, the organization that came from Bangkok last month to solve the serious temporary passport problem that took place at our factory and called them for help. Soon after, Ko Htet Kaung from Arakan Worker Action group in Mae Sot came to see me. I again needed to pay 500 Baht at the Mae Sot jail. I have much less money now because I had to pay 900 baht to the Mae Sot police. Anyway, thank you to all who helped me” she added.
Ko Htet Kaung who went to assist her, explained that “I received a call from U Kyaw Thaing, my work partner. I quickly left to assess the situation and it was really disappointing. I would like to say that Thai authorities have to stop doing whatever they want to workers who already have temporary passports. Instead of seeing the worker as a worker, the police may be seeing a kind of animal whose meat is tasty.”
It has been announced that those with temporary passports made in accordance with the joint agreement between the Burmese and Thai governments are eligible to travel freely in Thailand.
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