Mae Sot police yesterday arrested 16 Chinese for illegal entry by crossing the Moei River.
The investigators suspected the Chinese nationals may have been previously employed at a casino in Myanmar, but were made redundant as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
It was reported the suspects swam across the river and some almost drowned prompting the police to pull them to safety on the river bank near Charlerm Thep Road in tambon Tha Sai Luad.
The pandemic has forced the Myanmar and Thai authorities to close the common border, except for the second Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge where cargo can cross.
The Chinese decided to swim instead of ferrying across the river on a long-tailed boat which would have attracted attention.
According to police, six Chinese had passports with them while the rest did not.
The police told the Tak immigration bureau office and soldiers from special task force attached to the 4th infantry regiment about the capture of the Chinese nationals.
The suspects were taken to the Mae Sot provincial police yesterday after they were charged with illegal entry and violating the Communicable Disease Act for dodging mandatory quarantine procedures.
On Saturday, Samut Prakan immigration police arrested 10 Cambodian nationals for posing as monks and soliciting cash donations from people in tambon Bang Phli.
Police said the men would slip on monk’s robes and set out on foot to ask for cash donations from people in nearby communities.
Pol Col Parinya Klinkesorn, superintendent of Samut Prakan immigration police, said the men did not have monks’ licences or credentials to show police. Also, some had been previously deported for illegal donation collection.
They told police they crossed into Thailand through natural border channels in Aranyaprathet before catching a bus to Samut Prakan.