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On Sunday 13 bodies believed to be of migrants from Myanmar seeking work in Thailand were found off southern Thailand’s Andaman Sea coast according to local police.
Lt. Col. Nirat Chuayjit said that marine police in Ranong province, 580 kilometers (360 miles) south of Bangkok, had recovered the bodies of 12 men and one woman, whom they believe were on a boat that broke up in bad weather Wednesday as they sought to travel illegally to Thailand.
Thailand hosts hundreds of thousands of migrants from neighboring Myanmar who are willing to take menial jobs at low pay. They can register to work legally under strict conditions, but many also labor illegally.
Nirat said it was unknown how many people from the boat might be missing or survived, but that such boats normally carry about 30 people. Survivors would be unlikely to contact Thai authorities for fear of the legal consequences of trying to enter the country illegally, he said. He went on to say that it is common for migrant workers to try to sneak into Thailand during the rainy season, because the marine police cannot conduct regular patrols in stormy weather.