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The military have stepped up security patrols and checks as fighting in Myanmar’s Rakhine State rages, prompting Rohingya Muslim minority people to flee the country.
Although there was no signs of influx of Rohingya refugees in the southern part of the country since the latest round of fights erupted in Rakhine state on Aug 25, the military still see stepped up security patrols necessary as human trafficking might re-emerges.
Special attention was given to the sea around Koh Saranee which is located in between the mouth of Kra Buri river and Koh Song of Myanmar.
Koh Saranee checkpoint is considered a strategic point where all boats from Myanmar entering or leaving Thailand via Kramust pass, as it is the nearest route to the border.
Capt Sakdiket Bunpitak, chief of intelligence division of the 25th Infantry Regiment’s task force, said more than 1,000 legal migrant workers entered Thailand daily via this route. Despite intensive patrol operation in the area, there are still reports that illegal migrant workers sneak into Thailand via some other points or even by swimming across Kra Buri River.
He said previously this area was used by human trafficking gang to smuggle Rohingya illegal migrants in to Ranong and Phangnga on the way to Songkhla and Malaysia.
But after the drastic suppression of human trafficking during the past two years, the problem no longer existed.
Meanwhile commander of the Army Infantry Division 5 based in Songkhla Maj-Gen Sithiporn Musikasin said the army has successfully created a network of fishermen and local people to help in monitoring human trafficking and alert authorities of suspicious incidents.