NONG KHAI (Bangkok Post) – The Immigration Bureau (IB) is gearing up its efforts to prevent thousands of migrant workers from Laos and Cambodia from sneaking into Thailand illegally through natural channels to seek jobs.
Pol Lt Gen Sompong Chingduang, chief of the IB, said on Saturday immigration police are concerned about illicit border crossings as the border is still closed to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Foreigners still aren’t allowed to enter the country, he said. Some migrants crossing the border illegally may bring viral infections with them which will not be caught by screening authorities, observers say.
Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda, the national police chief, had ordered him to get first-hand information in the four northeastern border provinces
of Ubon Ratchathani, Si Sa Ket, Bung Kan and Nong Khai about possible crossings.
Ubon Ratchathani, Bung Kan and Nong Khai have borders with Laos while Ubon Ratchathani and Si Sa Ket have borders with Cambodia.
Pol Lt Gen Sompong was speaking yesterday when
he met his immigration police at the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge crossing point in Nong Khai.
“I ordered immigration police to work closely with border police and soldiers
in arresting illegal border crossers. More importantly, state officials themselves must not get involved with such offences,” he said.
He said the immigration police will launch a campaign in the northeast to crack down on migrant workers who illegally enter the region to work.
Pol Maj Gen Surapong Chaichan, deputy chief of the IB, said Thailand needs more migrant workers from neighbouring countries to work if the country opens its doors again.
However, he said while the country’s borders remain closed, many migrant workers have attempted to sneak in via natural channels especially the Mekong River, while some had tried to smuggle drugs in too.
He said immigration police in Nong Khai have seized more than five million speed pills and a large amount of dried cannabis over the past few months.
The government on Saturday reported a new case of Covid-19 infection, a Thai returning from Bahrain and undergoing in-state quarantine, raising the total to 3,147 with no new deaths.
The Thai, 28, has been in a state-quarantine facility in Chon Buri since returning from the Middle Eastern country on June 14.
On June 18, she tested positive but showed no symptoms, the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration reported on Saturday.
The new infection brought the total number of infections in Thailand to 3,147 with 58 deaths since January.
Thailand has reported no local transmission for 26 days in a row.