Police set up a checkpoint at the Thong Pha Phum intersection after a tip that that a number of Myanmar nationals who had illegally crossed the border had gathered in a forest behind the Thong Pha Phum district office. They were to be picked up by a Mitsubishi Pajero and driven to Muang district, reports Bangkok Post.
At about 11am, the police manning the checkpoint spotted the vehicle and signalled it to stop. The vehicle defied the order and sped past the checkpoint, prompting the police to give chase along Highway 323.
At Ban Kaeng Cho in tambon Sai Yok of Sai Yong district, the runaway vehicle veered off the road and crashed into a power post. It was also hit in the rear by the police vehicle.
Inside the Mitsubishi Pajero police found 15 Myanmar nationals – 12 men and three women – and detained them. Narin Wuchaiyaphum, 28, the driver from Kanchanaburi’s Sai Yok district, was also arrested.
Mr Narin said he had been hired by a man called Golf to transport the Myanmar nationals from the Nong Wai forest behind the Thong Pha Phum district office to Muang district. He was to be paid 5,000 baht for the job.
The migrants said they had sneaked into Thailand via a natural border crossing. They were to pay 29,000-30,000 baht each to job brokers on arriving at their workplaces inside the country.
The illegal border crossers were to be deported after going through legal proceedings at the Thong Pha Phum police station.