HONG KONG — Twenty migrant workers from Myanmar were killed when their bus caught fire in northwestern Thailand early Friday, the police said.
The workers were traveling to a factory district near Bangkok when their chartered bus was engulfed in flames around 1:30 a.m. in Tak Province.
The cause of the fire was not yet known, said Col. Krissana Pattanacharoen, a Royal Thai Police spokesman. The authorities were planning to interview the driver, who survived the fire.
The bus was carrying 47 people, and 27 escaped with minor injuries, Colonel Krissana said. But 20 others were killed in the fire, which incinerated the double-decker bus and left it a charred shell on the roadside.
“We are trying to identify the bodies and also trying to contact the Myanmar Consulate in order to identify the bodies,” Colonel Krissana said. “They are Buddhists, so we’ve got to send them back to their hometown for religious ceremonies there.”
Before Thailand’s military government enacted a tough law on migrant workers last June, the country had as many as three million unregistered migrant workers, many from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. The new rules, which carried prison terms of up to five years for working without legal documents, led tens of thousands of workers to return home.