Over 7,000 Myanmar nationals seek entry to Thailand amid junta's mandatory service plan

BANGKOK (Bernama): More than 7,000 Myanmar nationals have applied for visas at the Thai Embassy in Yangon after the military junta revealed plans to conscript young people for mandatory military service starting in April.

Following this, Myanmar nationals have been queueing at the Royal Thai Embassy in Yangon to apply for visas to enter Thailand in large numbers, which prompted the embassy to address the issue.

"The embassy has implemented an online appointment system to manage up to 800 applications per day.

"It is fully booked until March 1," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Kanchana Patarachoke told a press briefing in Bangkok on Thursday, adding that the number of applications is expected to rise.

According to Kanchana, Myanmar nationals can travel to Thailand and stay for up to 14 days without a visa.

On February 10, Myanmar's military junta declared mandatory military service for young men and women, according to state media.

Men aged 18 to 35 and women aged 18 to 27 will be required to serve for up to two years, with specialists like doctors facing a three-year term. The service can be extended to five years during the ongoing state of emergency.

Evading conscription is punishable by three to five years in prison and a fine.

The media reported that Myanmar’s military has the capacity to recruit up to 50,000 people a year, and conscripts "will receive salary, rations, and entitlements according to their grades and qualifications.

Meanwhile, Thailand’s Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has warned against illegal entry.

"They are welcome if they enter the country legally. But if they sneak into the country, legal action will be taken against them. I have discussed the matter with security agencies,” he was quoted as saying by the Bangkok Post. - Bernama

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