Eleven Burmese migrant workers were arrested after fleeing Malaysia to cross illegally into Thailand amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The men were detained after wading through the Golok River in Narathiwat province in the south of the country on December 26.
They had no passports and allegedly confessed to crossing the river border due to the high number of Covid-19 cases in Malaysia.
District police chief Rungrueng Thimabutr said they had received reports about the 11 men from concerned locals, who suspected they had entered illegally.
The policeman said: “Operators in Malaysia are trying to smuggle migrant workers into Thailand illegally, due to Malaysia’s rapid spread of Covid-19.”
Police investigated and found that the 11 migrant workers were fishing labourers from Malaysia.
They were all tested for covid-19 and had normal temperatures.
The Golok River lies on the border between Malaysia and Thailand and is a notorious point for illegal and undocumented entry into the country.
Malaysia currently has 105,000 recorded cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus while Thailand has just 6,141 as of December 29. However, Thailand is battling to contain clusters of cases that erupted from a seafood market staffed by Burmese migrant workers in Samut Sakhon province near the capital Bangkok.