Thai Nationals Arrested for Trafficking Myanmar Refugees

myanmar refugees trafficking


Three Thai men were apprehended for allegedly smuggling Myanmar refugees, including children, out of a temporary shelter. The arrest took place after a tip-off led to a checkpoint on Highway 1337, where two suspicious pick-up trucks were stopped and searched.

The Arrest

Local authorities and police set up a checkpoint on Highway 1337 in tambon Mae Kee, in the Khun Yuam district, following information about Myanmar refugees sneaking out of a nearby shelter. Two pick-up trucks with Chiang Mai license plates were stopped as they followed each other closely.

Upon searching the vehicles, ten undocumented passengers were discovered, comprising six adults and four children aged between 5 and 14 years old. The passengers could speak Thai, and they claimed to have taken refuge at a camp near the border after escaping conflict in Myanmar. They were en route to visit relatives in Mae Song Song’s Mae La Noi district.

The Suspects

The three arrested Thai men, including the drivers of both pick-up trucks, were identified as Anai, 38, Sangworn, 21, and Anurak, 54. Anai confessed that he had picked up the illegal migrants near the shelter and planned to drop them off near Ban Mae Kee. The migrants would then contact their relatives for pick-up.

Anai mentioned that he had previously helped Myanmar refugees sneak out of the shelter area on two occasions. He was contacted by the refugees themselves, as they possessed his phone number from when he delivered relief supplies to the center.

Potential Larger Network

Authorities suspect that Anai and his accomplices’ actions could be part of a more extensive network. They have been charged with aiding illegal migrants to avoid arrest. The investigation into this incident is ongoing, as officials work to uncover any potential connections to a broader trafficking operation.