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Deportation in Mae Sot

Mae Sot - Dec 15, 1997 -- Thai regional and immigration officials have been
rounding up illegal immigrants and migrant workers in this border town and
handing them over to the Burmese military of Myawadi. The Burmese military
authorities have in turn been making these deportees join the labor force
being recruited for a road project in the region.

The Thai crackdown on the illegal immigrants began in Mae Sot last month.
People are randomly questioned on the streets, their identities checked,
and those suspected of being illegal immigrants are arrested and later
released at the Thai-Burma border.

This practice has however changed in the past week.  The arrested people
are now directly handed over to the Burmese military authorities at Mae Taw

According to the deportees, who escaped, the Burmese military offers the
young male deportees two choices -- join the army or the labor force that
will build the Myawadi - Pa-an road. 

The road is a joint venture between the Burmese military and Thai concerns.

It is learned that young female deportees are usually released because of
the concern by the Burmese military authorities that they may be infected
with the HIV virus.

Male deportees who opted to join the labor force are confined in a
barb-wired compound in Thingan Nyi-naung.