HONG KONG – Twenty migrant workers from Myanmar were killed when their bus caught fire in northwestern Thailand on Friday, police said.
The workers traveled by chartered bus to a factory district near Bangkok in the Tak province around 1:30 am.
The cause of the fire was not yet known, said Colonel Krissana Pattanacharoen, a spokeswoman for the Royal Thai Police. The authorities planned to interview the driver who survived the fire.
The bus carried 47 people, and 27 escaped with minor injuries, said Colonel Krissana. But 20 more were killed in the fire that burned the double-decker bus and left a charred shell on the roadside.
"We are trying to identify the bodies and are also trying to contact the Burmese consulate to identify the bodies," Colonel Krissana said. "They are Buddhists, so we have to send them back to their hometown for religious ceremonies."
Before the Thai military government issued a tough law on migrant workers last June, the country had up to three million unregistered migrant workers, many from Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. The new rules, which provided for prison sentences of up to five years for working without legal documents, led tens of thousands of workers to return home.
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