Myanmar Officials Claim Thai Police Harrasing Migrant Workers
CHIANG RAI – Myanmar Authorities have presented concerns to their Thai counterparts, calling for a crackdown on corrupt and abusive Thai officials who prey on Myanmar workers in Northern Thailand.
Myanmar officials told Thai officials the had reports of Thai Police demanding money from Burmese workers and illegally confiscating their documents.
The dicsussion came at a December 8th meeting in Tachileik, Myanmar, as representatives of both countries met to discuss Border Cooperation on Anti-trafficking in Persons.
Deputy Police Captain Htein Win of Tachileik police said Thai officials had harassed document-holding Myanmar migrants along the road between Bangkok and Mae Sai, threatening them and demanding money.
According to the migrant workers, the threats and demands came from Thai border officials. We did not make a direct accusation, but asked them to investigate. We made a total of six demands, and they said they would respond at our next meeting,” he told the Myanmar Times.
Myanmar has also asked the Thai side to investigate workers’ complaints that Thai taxi drivers in Mae Sai township have been threatening and demanding money from Myanmar migrants, Pol Capt Htein Win said .
Despite agreeing to requests from Myanmar to stop seizing national identity cards from Myanmar citizens, some Thai officials reportedly continue to do so.
Myanmar officials asked their Thai counterparts to look into these accusations
Both sides agreed to set up signboards at the border forbidding the collection of fees from documented migrants, in Burmese, Thai and Shan languages.
Dep Pol Capt Htein Win, who also chairs the communications office of the Myanmar Border Cooperation on Anti-trafficking in Persons committee said authorities were also concerned over Myanmar workers who crossed the border illegally, being charged from 700 to 1200 Thai baht, which they could not afford.
This was the 10th regular meeting of the committee and was attended by 24 Thai officials, including Anira Thinon, chief of social development and human security in Chiang Rai, according to state-owned media.
About 4500 migrants pass from Myanmar to Thailand daily, and about 2500 Myanmar citizens return every day, deputy director U Kyaw Min Htun in Tachileik.
By Zaw Zaw Htwe
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