BANGKOK — Thai police said Sunday that the bodies of 13 people believed to be migrants from Burma seeking work have been found off southern Thailand’s Andaman Sea coast.
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 Burma 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.
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, Nirat said.