MYANMAR officers brought 41 Thais who had fled fighting in northern Myanmar across from Tachileik to Mae Sai town today (Nov. 18) but over 200 more are stranded at a military camp in Laukkaing city with preparation being made to bring them back too, Matichon newspaper said.
Receiving them on the Thai side were Lt. Gen. Anupap Sirimonthon, director of Army Civil Affairs department, Maj. Gen. Praphat Phopsuwan, commander of Pha Muang Force, and Col. Natee Thimsen, commander of Chao Tak Army Special Forces and Thai head of Thai-Myanmar Border Consortium (TBC).
On the Myanmar side was Col. Tula So Win Soe, chief of Tachileik Strategic Command and Myanmar head of TBC, Tachileik immigration officials and other officers.
The 41 returnees were taken to Mengrai Maharat camp in Chiang Rai’s Mueang district where they will undergo a health check and be processed by Immigration Police and the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security officials.
Pha Muang Force has prepared accommodation for up to 200 people with there also being a waiting point where their relatives could receive them.
Regarding the remaining 200 Thais, the Myanmar team said they were all at a military camp in Laukkaing city, in Kokang autonomous region, with the unit there working out a route to evacuate them as fighting is raging all around this city.
Consular officials of Thai and other embassies in Yangon had to verify their citizens and it was found that 164 Thais did not have a passport because their employers had kept their travel document.
The Foreign Ministry is going to issue a temporary passport for all of them but they still need a visa and will be taken five kilometres from Laukkaing city to China to get one then brought back.
Meanwhile across the border from Mae Sot, Tak province, Karen National Union (KNU) fighters said they blew up a bridge in Mawlamyine province, Mon state, after having captured it from a junta unit guarding it last Tuesday (Nov. 14) and continue controlling the adjacent village.
Heavy fighting has raged between the two sides with KNU saying many Myanmar junta soldiers had died while several others had surrendered.
Top, below and Front Page: The 41 Thais who returned from northern Myanmar today, Nov. 18, 2023, and the military teams of the two countries greeting each other.
Insert: The bridge in Mawlamyine province, Mon state, which KNU fighters blew up. All photos: Matichon