Bodies of Myanmar migrants found off Thailand

Featured South East Asia - June 4th, 2013

Thai authorities have recovered several bodies believed to be those of migrants from Myanmar who drowned after their boat capsized in bad weather.

The bodies – six men and three women – were found at sea off the southern province of Ranong on Sunday, The Bangkok Post reported. Three more bodies were reportedly found floating in the area near the border with Myanmar on Saturday.

A Thai official said those who died at sea are believed to be illegal migrants from Myanmar who were on a boat traveling to Thailand which may have sunk due to a storm. Around 38 migrants were rescued by Thai navy on Friday night, the official said.

Myanmar confirmed that a group of migrants had drowned over the weekend after four boats attempting to smuggle dozens of refugees into Thailand sailed into a storm, The Irrawaddy reports.

The two countries have been trying for several years to come up with a way of regulating the illicit flow of migrant workers through its borders, reports AFP.

Thousands of Muslim Rohingya asylum seekers have also arrived in Thailand in recent months to flee sectarian violence in western Myanmar.