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Dozens deported in crackdown

Chiang Rai authorities deported 72 Myanmar workers back to their homeland on Thursday. No reason was given for the move. Authorities said the workers had previously entered Thailand legally and none had worked in the Covid-19 hotspot in Samut Sakhon.

The group was screened for Covid-19 before being expelled via the border checkpoint in Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district.

Separately, the Immigration Bureau on Thursday reported results of a roundup of undocumented immigrants in Bangkok and Samut Sakhon province, the epicentre of the latest Covid-19 outbreak.

The bureau said 300 immigration officials working alongside Labour Ministry and Public Health Ministry personnel found 61 unregistered migrant workers in Samut Sakhon province on Tuesday.

Fifty-four were from Myanmar, four from Cambodia and the remaining three from Laos. Most of them had crossed the border illegally, said the bureau.

All were tested for Covid-19 but none was found to be infected.

The non-profit Mekong Migration Network has urged Thai authorities not to scapegoat undocumented migrant workers for the latest outbreak of Covid-19 in Thailand.

Myanmar migrant workers in Samut Sakhon are thought to be the source of the outbreak.

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered an investigation of human-trafficking gangs who reportedly bribe Thai immigration and border officials to bring migrant workers into the country.


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