Thailand:Illegal Burmese caught in ‘henhouses’

Police arrested a total of 101 illegal Burmese immigrants, many of them were found living in modified henhouses near an office of a local leader, in Ayutthaya province on Thursday.

The officers stopped two suspected pick-up trucks near the office of the kamnan or sub-district chief of tambon Tanim in Bang Pahan district  about 10 am on Thursday after following the vehicles from the North.  The vehicles, registered in Bangkok, were packed with  30 illegal Burmese immigrants, who were all caught.

Two drivers and another Thai man allegedly responsible for smuggling those immigrants were arrested. They were identified as Suchart Fuengfung, Pramote Jaipradit and Vorapol Srirod.

Local police were called in to the area to round up more illegal immigrants hidden in modified henhouses and living quarters near the kamnan’s office. The sudden raid forced those immigrants to flee, but they were later nabbed.

A total of 101 Burmese, including those caught in the two vehicles, were arrested. They included 54 men and 47 women. Several children were also among those arrested.

Pol Col Chayanon Meesati, superintendent attached to Police Region 1, said police have closely monitored activities of this human smuggling gang for over six months. The gang had transported illegal workers from Burma through Tak’s Mae Sot district.  The immigrants were later taken to Bang Pahan district of Ayutthaya before being sent to factories in Bangkok and surrounding provinces,  he said.

Ayutthaya Governor Witthaya Piewpong said a fact-finding panel will  be set up to investigate Boonlert Porthikul, kamnan of tambon Tanim as the illegal immigrants were arrested near his office. The panel will  look into the involvement of officials in the smuggling of illegal alien workers.   Criminal action will be taken against any officers found involved, said the governor.