Berry Pickers Recieved by Minister

The minister told them the good news that an arrest warrant had already been issued for their Thai agent, Mr Phumkacha Nakham from Chaiyaphum province. Mr Issara Somchai explained to reporters present in the airport, that it was Mr Phumkacha Nakham who had sent them to Sweden to work for two months under false pretence.

The arrest order for Mr Phumkacha was issued because he had not registered a company in Thailand and had taken the group to Sweden on tourist visas. Minister of Social Development and Human Security, Mr Issara Somchai said, the money which the pickers claimed to be returned to them had to wait for the arrest of Mr. Phumkacha.

Mr Phumkacha Nakham was previously a berry picker himself but promoted himself as an agent for the berry picking in Sweden. The full group of 155 people had each paid him 78000 Baht to cover the travel arrangement including the visa application. He had promised them that they would get per month 16,372 Swedish kroner or 73.000 baht on a two and a half month contract.

A representative from the Ministry of Labour said that the ministry will seek to arrange for a cheap loan so the workers could pay back the high interest loans they had taken to pay Mr. Phumkacha for their travel cost.

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