2 Men Charged for Dumping Migrant Workers on Roadside

A group of migrant workers left abandoned in front of a factory in Samut Prakan province on Dec. 22, 2020.
A group of migrant workers left abandoned in front of a factory in Samut Prakan province on Dec. 22, 2020.

SAMUT SAKHON — Two people were slapped with criminal charges for driving a group of migrant workers from the epicenter of the country’s latest outbreak and leaving them to fend for themselves on the roadside outside Bangkok.

Khok Kham police superintendent Somchai Korka said the suspects, who were drivers of STI Precision plastic factory, violated the Emergency Decree by defying the Governor’s ban on interprovincial travel of migrant workers. The offense carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a 40,000 baht fine.

“We are finalizing the necessary documents and the case is due to be forwarded to public investigators next week,” Col. Somchai said. “Both men had reported themselves to investigators and heard their charges.”

Somchai said the two suspects were also charged with harboring aliens to evade arrest under the immigration law, which carries a more severe punishment of five years in prison and a 50,000 baht fine.

Eighteen Myanmar nationals, who identified themselves as employees of STI Precision, were found by local residents on Bangna-Trad Road in Samut Prakan’s Bang Phli district on the night of Dec. 22.

One of them told reporters that a total of 23 people were told to leave by their bosses because the executives fear a police raid on undocumented workers. While most of them were able to find relatives to stay with, the rest was refused by their friends and families and left abandoned on the roadside.

The migrant workers were reportedly returned to their employer after finishing their quarantine. They were hired back to work after the government allowed undocumented workers to sign up for a temporary work permit, Somchai the police superintedent added.

Samut Sakhon has seen a surge in coronavirus cases since December, which was traced to a wholesale seafood market where many migrant workers live and work. It also brought a new wave of outbreak which has now spread to 63 provinces to date.

The latest figures reported today brought the total number of infections found in the province to 14,241 since the first case was reported on Dec. 17.