NMSP Closes Border Crossings

By Network Media Group
Thursday, April 30, 2020

To prevent infection of the novel coronavirus, the New Mon State Party (NMSP) announced it’s shuttering border crossings along the Thai-Burma border.

The NMSP announced all crossings in Phayarthonsu, located in Mon State, in Burma, bordering with Three Pagoda Pass in Thailand, will close today.

After the Burmese government shut the official Phayarthonsu checkpoint between Thailand and Burma, many migrant workers crossed through Japan Yaytwin and Kyantaw.

A recent statement by NMSP warned returning workers that they wouldn’t be able to access these border crossings soon, suggesting they cross at the Mae Sot-Myawaddy Friendship Bridge in northern Thailand.

“To fight COVID-19, the NMSP will completely close its border routes in Japan Yaytwin and Kyantaw gates on the Thai-Burma border,” Nai Banyar Lel, who is in charge of NMSP’s interior relation department, told NMG. “We’re worried if there’s a virus infection in this area it will be difficult to control.”

In April, the NMSP negotiated with the Mon State government to allow the ethnic armed organisation to accept migrant workers returning home, he said. Returnees had to pass through medical checks before they could cross into Burma. Eventually, the Mon State government asked NMSP to close its border routes.

Locals told NMG that in April some workers returned to Burma illegally with the help of brokers. After crossing the border, they weren’t allowed to stay in the villages and stayed at some of the rubber plantation farms before continuing their journey.

The NMSP says its trying to find out who brought the workers across the border illegally. According to its statement, if they are found guilty they will be fined 50,000 Thai baht (est. US$1,500) or jail time or both.