April 25: One woman migrant died and 13 women from among 18 migrant workers were sent to prison in Takuapa, southern Thailand after the vehicle they were travelling in hit an electric pole on Sunday. The migrants included three men, and two children, a girl and a boy from Karen State.

They will be sent back to Burma after about two or three days after spending a week in prison, said Ko Htoo Chit director of a workers support group, the Grassroots Human Rights Education.

They entered Thailand following an arrangement with touts from Chaung-zone Township Mon State and the Thai police. The vehicle was driven by a Thai policeman.

Ko Htoo Chit said “One woman migrant died after she jumped from the vehicle when it hit the electric pole. Three were injured.”

They were imprisoned after being treated in Takuapa hospital for a few days because some workers had broken their hands and legs in the accident, a Mon monk said “The police tried to stop the vehicle but the driver did not stop and drove away. After which the vehicle hit an electric pole when Thai police fired to frighten the driver three days ago”.

According to the Mon monk, the tout is a Mon and the Thai police is yet to arrest him.

Some times these things happen if the touts do not bribe and negotiate with local policemen, he added. Most migrant workers who enter Thailand work in rubber plantations.

Migrant workers entering Thailand are not only from Ranong in Tenneserim Division but Three Pagoda Pass (TPP) in Karen State near the Thai border.

About 2,000 migrant workers have entered Thailand from Three Pagoda Pass after the water festival. Currently about 1,000 migrant workers are still waiting to enter Thailand and most of them have already paid the local authorities such as cease-fire groups, police, immigration office, the Burmese Army, and touts according to a survey by local authorities.

TPP residents observing migrants said some migrant workers entered Thailand by influencing the immigration office through the touts. Some enter on their own while some enter by negotiating with cease-fire groups.

Most of those remaining rest in the village in the border including in TPP town, Ci-pyah-mon (Tom-dot-poit) village, Palaing-Japan (Japanese well), and Gu-bowl village. Some enter by walking through the forest while some enter in special police vehicles.

They can enter Thailand in many ways but it is easier from Ranong than from other places to enter and come out of Thailand, the monk said.