119 Thais return from Malaysia

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Two Thai men return from Malaysia through the Sadao immigration checkpoint in Songkhla on Monday. Malaysia has set an April 21 deadline for foreigners who have no visa or have overstayed to leave the country. (Photo: Assawin Pakkawan)

SONGKHLA: A total of 119 Thai nationals returned home from Malaysia through the Sadao immigration checkpoint on Monday, the provincial public relations office announced.

The Sadao checkpoint was reopened on Monday for Thai citizens after Malaysia announced a deadline for foreigners without visas or on overstay to leave the country by April 21.

Sadao district chief Surin Suriyawong said he was informed that 300 Thais had registered with the Thai consulate in Penang, Malaysia, for the return.

The 119 who crossed back on Monday included five monks and one nun. Mr Surin expected the remaining 181 would return on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Authorities had prepared seven quarantine venues, which could take up to 500 people, he said.

Combined civilian-police-military patrols were operating along the border with Malaysia to detect illegal crossings. Illegal border crossers would also have to undergo health screening and 14-day quarantine, Mr Surin said.