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Thailand expels illegal Myanmar wor

The Straits Time
NOV 24 1997 
Thailand expels illegal Myanmar workers 

BANGKOK -- Thai immigration officials arrested and repatriated more than
350 illegal Myanmar workers as part of a crackdown on illegal foreigners
during the economic slump, reports said yesterday. A squad of 300
immigration, military and border patrol officers launched the pre-dawn
swoop near the border town of Mae Sot in Tak province on Saturday, the
Bangkok Post said. 

It said 365 illegal labourers were sent back to Myanmar, bringing to
3,095 the number of immigrants sent home in the past two weeks. 

Immigration Department officials said yesterday they were only aware of
41 arrests in the raid, which is part of a continuing daily operation. 

The team is expected to launch another operation to catch around 1,000
illegals in the area in the coming weeks, the paper said. 

The Labour Ministry last week advised its staff of a new policy to crack
down on illegal workers from neighbouring countries in a bid to create
jobs for Thais. 

The crackdown on illegals, mainly from Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos, comes
in the depths of Thailand's worst economic crisis in decades, which
threatens to send the number of jobless here soaring from around one
million to 2.8 million by next year. 

Officials estimate that 600,000 workers from the three neighbouring
countries are illegally employed here. Labour Ministry officials said
last week they would also be tightening restrictions on legal workers
from other South-east Asian countries. 

Hundreds of thousands of workers from neighbouring countries came to
Thailand in the 80s and 90s to take advantage of the stronger economy. --