Flights bring 266 evacuated Thais back home




Bangkok Post Public Company Limited


The 266 Thai nationals evacuated by Myanmar authorities from the border town of Laukkaing in Shan state to Kunming in China on Sunday returned to Thailand on two commercial flights early yesterday, police said. Thai Air Asia Flight FD9702 landed at Don Mueang airport from Kunming about 3am, followed by Thai Lion Air Flight SL7007 about 4am. The two flights carried 273 passengers — the 266 Thais, six Filipinos and one Singaporean. They were met at the airport by immigration police, consular affairs and other officials, police said. Escorted by a convoy of police vehicles, the 266 Thais were taken on buses from the airport to the learning centre at the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration’s Training and Development Institute in Nong Chok district. There, they were being screened by officials from the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Public Health and police from the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division and Metropolitan Police Bureau to separate those who were victims of human trafficking and those who were criminal suspects, police said. The screening was being conducted under the so-called National Referral Mechanism process. The six foreign nationals on the flights were placed in the care of their embassies. Relatives of the returned Thais can confirm their names with the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division by calling 1191 or the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security on 1300. Foreign affairs spokeswoman Kanchana Patarachoke said the government was dutybound to provide assistance to all Thai nationals in trouble abroad.