Soldiers from the Pha Muang task force have detained 38 illegal Myanmar migrants and arrested 2 of 3 drivers trafficking them into Thailand.
Police said one of the pickups crashed and overturned when the driver tried to flee the road checkpoint.
Soldiers manning a road checkpoint in the Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai signaled the pickup truck carrying about 30 Myanmar migrant workers to stop.
Rather than slow down, the driver accelerated through the checkpoint. The soldiers immediately gave chase in their humvee.
The fleeing driver lost control of his pickup on a curve and the truck overturned. The migrant workers were thrown from the vehicle and the driver fled.
As the soldiers converged on the scene, many of the illegal migrants fled into the forest. Six were left behind – one man, four women, and a child.
Mae Sai Hospital treated one of the women who was injured.
Meanwhile, in Chiang Rai’s Mae Fa Luang district, another team of soldiers from the Pha Muang task force signaled two vehicles to stop for a search.
One pickup was carrying 16 Myanmar migrants – eight men, six women, and two children. The second pickup was transporting 16 illegal migrants – six men, eight women, and two children.
During interrogation, the two drivers said they were being paid Bt14,000 (US$413) each to smuggle the migrants into Chiang Rai.
The migrant workers said they had paid job brokers Bt22,000 (US$650) each for promised work in Thailand.
All were detained for legal proceedings and extradition.