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More than 100 illegal immigrants and three members of a human trafficking gang have been rounded up after a surveillance operation by Thailand’s Tak immigration police.
The operation was launched at 8pm on Thursday and ended this morning after a tip-off that a gang would try to smuggle illegal immigrants from Burma to Bangkok via Tak province on two vans, Pol Col Pongnakhon Nakhonsantiparb, chief of Tak immigration police, said.
Police set up overnight surveillance on the road and detected the vans loaded with immigrants heading to an abandoned hut in forest area in moo 4 village in Tambon Ban Tak of Ban Tak district early on Friday morning.
The team then followed the two vans to the Phahol Yothin Road, where they were stopped.
The first van, driven by Sompong Pliaharn, had 38 Burmese nationals on board, 22 males and 16 females. The second had 18 men and 20 women.
Police said the second van driver was Somchai Wongkaand and his navigator Noppon Maradit.
The team returned to the hut and discovered 28 more illegal immigrants hiding inside. Some of the arrested Burmese who can speak Thai told police they each paid 13,000-15,000 baht (US$400- $500) to the gang to be smuggled into Thailand to find work, Pol Col Pongnakhon said.
This article was originally published in the Bangkok Post on 4 April 2014.