‘We cannot stop them all’ – says army on illegal border crossings

25 illegal migrants rounded up by soldier patrol in Muang district of Kanchanaburi after crossing into the boarder on 12 Dec. (Photo: Piyarat Chongcharoen / Bangkok Post)

The army had admitted on Monday that it was almost impossible to completely seal off Thailand’s borders from illegal migrants, even as the health ministry confirmed the latest Covid-19 surge at a seafood market in Samut Sakhon was linked to migrant workers.

“Illegal migrant workers are still crossing the border using natural channels, although we have been deploying several troops to block the crossings. Our border is 5,526 kilometres long and it’s not easy to cover the whole stretch,” says the deputy army chief-of-staff and spokesman Lt Gen Santipong Thammapiya.

He said although these migrants keep on sneaking into Thailand especially through risky and porous routes in Tak, Chiang Rai and Kanchanaburi, the army will build reinforcement by adding drones, more mobile patrol units and barb-wire fences to secure those areas.

Lt Gen Santipong discloses that 279 Myanmar illegal migrants have been arrested recently at the border crossings in those three provinces and had already sent them all back.

Meanwhile, Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin said the ministry would stop importing migrant workers from neighbouring countries as there are already 2.3 million legal migrants working in companies and factories around the country.

Original writers: Apinya Wipatayotin, Wassana Nanuam and Penchan Charoensuthipan
Source: Bangkok Post