Local leader probed over outdated migrant papers

Officials (right) question two of nine arrested Mon migrant workers over the issuing of documents they received from a local leader in Kanchanaburi's Sangkhla Buri district on Friday. (Photo by Piyarach Chongcharoen)

KANCHANABURI: An investigation will be launched into the allegation a local leader issued revoked documents to nine migrant workers seeking jobs in Thailand in exchange for brokerage fees of 4,000 baht each.

Sangkhla Buri district chief Pakorn Kanwanlee said on Saturday that district authorities had stopped issuing this type of documents for several years. It was therefore likely that the documents had been unlawfully issued.

The local leader whose signature appeared on those documents would be called for questioning. If found having demanded brokerage fees in exchange for the documents as alleged by illegal migrant workers, he would face both disciplinary and legal action, said the district chief.

A document is signed by the village head of Moo 7.

The move followed the arrests of nine migrant workers of Myanmar’s Mon ethnic group at a joint checkpoint in Sangkhla Buri district of this border province on Friday. 

The Mon migrant workers, seven of whom were men, were among passengers boarding a bus stopped at the checkpoint manned by soldiers, police and local officials checking entry documents.

The nine people produced the Thor Ror 89/1 documents issued by the local leader in Sangkhla Buri district to the officers when asked. The officers initially checked the documents and found some alleged irregularities in the issuing of the documents. The foreign workers were then taken to Sangkhla Buri district office for questioning. 

The migrants told authorities that they had been contacted by a relative in Myanmar’s Payatongsu district early this month that the application for Thor Ror 89/1 documents had been opened in Sangkhla Buri and those who obtained the documents would be allowed to stay and work legally in Thailand. To obtain the documents, they were told to pay 3,000-4,000 baht each to the local leader there. 

They then travelled to their relative’s house in Payatongsu district on July 13. On the following day, someone arrived and took them to a house in tambon Nong Lu in Sangkhla Buri district to receive the documents and make the payments. After that, they were taken to a bus terminal in Sangkhla Buri to go to work in Tha Maka district of this province, but the bus was stopped by officials at the checkpoint and they were subsequently caught.

All nine migrant workers are issued documents by a local leader in Kanchanaburi's Sangkhla Buri district in exchange for 3,000-4,000 baht fee each. (Photo by Piyarach Chongcharoen)

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