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A Canadian man who was arrested in Burma after illegally crossing the border from Thailand will probably be deported, Burmese officials said on Thursday.
Ron Zakreski was detained on 24 March, apparently while taking photos of the scene of an earlier battle between Myanmar government troops and Karen ethnic minority rebels. He is being held in the border town of Myawaddy.
“After he’s sentenced, he is likely to be deported,” said a Burmese official who declined to be named.
A second official said: “He crossed the border illegally so he will be charged as he broke immigration law. The authorities will take him to Yangon [Rangoon].”
Zakreski, a retired psychologist, is described by his family in Canada as a veteran traveller and part-time photojournalist.
Canada, which has no diplomatic mission in Burma, has said it is aware of the detention of one of its nationals and is gathering information through its embassy in Bangkok. Australia is also assisting in the matter.
Burma, where power was recently handed from the long-ruling junta to a military-backed government, usually deports foreigners who enter the country illegally instead of imprisoning them.
In November a Japanese video journalist was arrested after crossing the porous border from Thailand to cover Burma’s first election in 20 years.
He was deported days later, after fighting erupted between government forces and ethnic insurgents near the place he was being held in Myawaddy.