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Border Checkpoints Closed Over Extortion Allegation of Migrant Workers in Tak Province



Migrant workers say Thai officials had extorted Myanmar migrant workers returning to their home country in an exodus.

TAK – Two border checkpoints under the supervision of Provincial Police Region 6 in Tak province have been ordered closed in the wake of an allegation that police had extorted money from Myanmar migrant workers.

Pol Lt Gen Thawitchart Palasak, the Provincial Police Region 6 commissioner, said he had ordered the closure to Huay Ya-u checkpoint in Mae Sot district and Tha Lay checkpoint in Muang Tak district. Only the main security checkpoint in Ban Huay Hin Fon in Mae Sot district remains opened.

The action followed a report that the governor of Myawaddy had sent a letter to his Mae Sot counterpart via the Thai-Myanmar (Mae Sot-Myawaddy) coordination team alleging that Thai officials had extorted Myanmar migrant workers returning to their home country in an exodus.

The exodus came after an executive decree was issued, imposing harsh punishments on undocumented workers and employers who hire them, with fines ranging from 400,000 baht to 800,000 baht.

Authorities said since the executive decree was issued on June 23, more than 23,000 Myanmar workers have returned to Myanmar via border crossings in Tak province.

Pol Lt Gen Thawitchart said he also set up a committee to investigate this matter. If the investigation revealed that police under the Provincial Police Region 6 had extorted the migrant workers, they would be subject to criminal and disciplinary actions. If nobody was found to have committed the offence, he would inform the Myanmar authorities, he added.

Some Myanmar migrant workers told Thai PBS that they agreed with the closure of the checkpoints because it could ease their travel to and from Myanmar.

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