BANGKOK: More than two hundred Thai nationals trapped by renewed fighting in northern Myanmar between soldiers of the junta and armed groups belonging to ethnic minorities are evacuated to Thailand via China, the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Sunday, November 19.
Myanmar’s military, which seized power in a 2021 coup, is losing control of several towns and military outposts across the country and is being overrun in parts of the country’s north as it fights the armed forces of Myanmar. the largest coordinated offensivelaunched last month by an alliance of three ethnic minority groups and pro-democracy fighters.
Thailand’s Foreign Ministry said a group of 266 Thais and an unspecified number of Filipinos and Singaporeans were being evacuated from Laukkaing in northern Shan State to the Myanmar border with China, with the help of the Burmese authorities.
The group will be allowed to enter China and will then fly from the Chinese city of Kunming on two charter flights to Bangkok where they will be subject to human trafficking checks and any criminal records, the Foreign Ministry said .
The ministry did not specify the timing of the repatriation flights, but said the group would travel to the Chinese border on Sunday.
Thai authorities earlier said some people trapped in Myanmar were victims of human trafficking and others may be involved in telecommunications fraud gangs.
Southeast Asia, including Myanmar, has become a hub for telecommunications and other online fraud, according to the United Nations, with hundreds of thousands of people trafficked by criminal gangs and forced to working in scam centers and other illegal operations.
The evacuation to China comes a day later 41 Thai nationals repatriated by land to Thailand after coordination between the Thai authorities and the Burmese army.