BANGKOK (Bernama): A Thai fisherman stranded in Malaysia for days following the closure of border checkpoints braved himself and took to the sea to swim home.
However, the 45-year-old fisherman from Piman, Muang district in Satun, southern Thailand was found exhausted and drifting at sea close to the shore of Puyu sub-district in Satun on Monday (April 13).
He was rescued by the Thai marine police.
The desperate man had been stranded at the Thai-Malaysian border in Perlis for days following the closure of border checkpoints on March 23.
Missing his family members and unsure when the border checkpoints would reopen, he walked to the nearest border point.
Satun Marine Police Inspector Lt Col Banjerd Manavej said the man walked for two days and reached a narrow canal of about 100m wide and decided to swim across.
However, strong currents washed him further to the sea, he said.
"Fishermen in the village found him swimming and alerted the police around 2.30pm (local time) yesterday.
"He was exhausted when we found him. However, he was very happy to see us.
"He was brought to the hospital for a medical checkup. He is in good condition and will undergo 14-day quarantine at the state quarantine facility in Satun, ” Bajerd told Bernama when contacted on Tuesday (April 14).
He said the man told the police he only had a bottle of water and one lunch box during his journey home.
The man was charged for illegal entry and fined 800 baht.
Meanwhile, Banjerd said marine police were stepping up patrols in Thai-Malaysian waters to prevent Thai nationals stranded in Malaysia from sneak in following the closure of border checkpoints between the two countries.
Beginning March 23, the Thai government closed nine checkpoints along its borders with Malaysia until further notice to curb the spread of COVID-19.
However, the Thai Interior Ministry has announced that its citizens still stranded at the Malaysian border would be allowed to return if they met the required conditions starting April 18. – Bernama