Illegal border crossings still taking place despite tight control

EVEN though no new domestic Covid-19 cases emerged over the past 24 hours people from neighbouring countries continue to sneak across the border with 11 Myanmar nationals arrested at Mae Sot district of Tak province while six Vietnamese were caught just as they crossed over from Cambodia to Sa Kaeo province, Thai Rath newspaper and reported this morning (Dec. 12,2020).

At the same time Mr. Pakphum Dejhassadin, a medical technologist and owner of the popular Dr Panda Lab webpage, came out to deny that the photos he posted yesterday showing people crossing over from Cambodia’s Battambang province to the Ban Laem border crossing in Pong Nam Ron district, Chanthaburi province, were old ones taken some time ago as stated by the military and claimed by some netizens.

Pakphum confirmed that the photos were taken last Wednesday.

Rear Admiral Apirak Klinmon, chief of staff of the Chanthaburi and Trat Border Defence Force, said Lt Surasi Srisukam had reported to him that the photos were old ones showing Cambodian people crossing over to buy food and daily necessities on humanitarian grounds when the border crossing was shut.

With the reopening of the checkpoint this natural channel has been blocked with barbed wire rolled out across the weir all the way to the coastline.

Lt Surasi pointed out that the sandbags are still new, with this being clear evidence that the photos were taken sometime ago.

However on the same day at next door Sa Kaeo province Col. Seksan Phomsak, deputy commander of the Burapha Task Force, and his unit caught six Vietnamese, one male and five female with one of them being a 10- to 12-year-old child, crossing the border.

The group said they had travelled from Vietnam through Cambodia and were hiding at the Thai-Cambodian border since Dec. 6. Yesterday they hired a taxi to bring them to the border and upon crossing a natural path were caught by the military unit.

They were heading to work with relatives in Bang Yai district of Nonthaburi province. 

Col. Seksan said they would be handed over to Immigration police and after a 14-day quarantine would be deported.

Meanwhile at Mae Sot district of Tak province soldiers from the Naresuan Task Force and community leaders from Mae Ku sub-district caught 11 Myanmar people just as they had sneaked across the border with this group consisting of one man and ten women.

None of them had any documents on them and were all taken to Mae Sot town for Covid-19 tests after which would be sent to the police station for further legal action.

Reporters at this border province told Thai Rath that Myanmar people are slipping into Thailand almost every night to find work in Thailand due to the severe Covid-19 outbreak in their country.

However patrols check the border all 24 hours to block their influx, they added. 

At the same time Dr. Opas Karnkawinpong,  director-general of the Department of Disease Control, said after infected Thai workers started crossing back from Myanmar’s Tachileik town two weeks ago, it was found that infected people had crossed over in seven provinces.

A total of 49 infected Thais had returned from Tachileik so far with 30 of them doing so legally and have been placed in local quarantine facilities.

Meanwhile the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) announced at 11 a.m. today (Dec. 12) that there are 12 new cases over the past 24 hours with all of them having arrived from overseas and all placed in state quarantine, reported.

Seven of the latest batch of infected overseas arrivals were from Bahrain while one person each came from  Sweden, Germany, Kuwait, India and the UK.

As a result, the total number of cases has risen to 4,192, while 3,915 have recovered, and 217 are still undergoing treatment. There were no additional deaths with the toll remaining at 60.


Top: A busy checkpoint on the Thai border. Photo: Thai Rath

Below: Pictures shared by Dr Panda Lab that the military says are old ones. Photos:

TNR staff
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