Thai police free 54 illegal Myanmar migrants

Authorities in Thailand have freed 54 illegal migrants from Myanmar who were held for ransom by traffickers, police said on Thursday.

Six suspects, including two Myanmar men and four Thai men, have been arrested on various charges including illegal detention and extortion after the migrants were rescued from three houses in central Suphan Buri province.

“They were kept in those houses for a few days,” Col. Vorapong Thongpaibul, division commander of the anti-human trafficking police, told AFP.

“This case become known after a relative of one of the extortion victims asked us for help,” he said.

The migrants, who were freed on Tuesday, would be prosecuted for illegal entry and deported, Vorapong said.

Meanwhile 76 illegal migrants from Myanmar travelling in pick-up trucks were arrested near the border in western Tak province, while about 100 more were detained near the capital Bangkok.

There are an estimated two million migrant workers in Thailand from Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos.

The police said there had been an influx of migrants trying to slip into the country to take advantage of a window during which employer can register illegal workers with the authorities, enabling them to stay.

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