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Updated on June 22, 2020 From Daily Eleven

Undocumented returnees from Thailand detained for not paying fine

Of the Myanmar migrant workers returning from Thailand during the Covid-19 period, those holding incomplete documents were detained as they could not afford money demanded on the Thai side at No (2) Friendship Bridge, said returnees.

A returnee said she was detained for three days as she could not pay while returning home after she had been out of work due to shortages of raw materials at factories and inconveniences in export of finished goods.

“I left (Thailand) on June 15. I arrived on the Thai side of No (2) Friendship Bridge on June 16. As I didn’t have complete documents, I was fined 1,000 baht. I could not afford. So I was detained for three days. I don’t know who asked for the money. But the person who speaks Myanmar asked me for the money. I was taken to No (1) Friendship Bridge and detained for three days.

She said about 40 returnees were detained as they could not pay the fine.

A 25-year-old man said he was also detained for seven days at Mae Sot detention center as he could not pay 1,000 baht when he returned home with incomplete documents together with 17 co-workers through No (2) Friendship Bridge.

The Myawady District commissioner said returning Myanmar workers should not have been detained unnecessarily during the Covid-19 outbreak.

“During the pandemic, there are restrictions as well as exemptions. They (returnees) should also deserve exemptions. They will not choose other routes to return home. They will not trouble others either. Unnecessarily, they should not be detained. Our citizens have to work in other countries amid difficulties. We are trying our best to solve the problem,” commissioner Tay Zar Aung told The Daily Eleven while welcoming the returnees at BCF Zone of No (2) Friendship Bridge on June 20.

Since May 23, 500 to 1,000 Myanmar workers have been returning daily. Over 30,000 had returned till June 20.

Twenty three of 35 Myanmar workers sent back by Thai IDC tested positive for Covid-19.

IMAGE: Myanmar migrant workers arriving at No (2) Friendship Bridge on June 21 (Photo-Shwe Thein-Myawady)
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