Ten Thai traditional masseuses, who were working in China but were later laid off, returned home on Wednesday following the timely intervention of the Thai Embassy, Lampang Governor Suwat Promsuwan said on Wednesday.
The embassy paid their fine of 10,000 yuan (Bt50,000) per person for overstay and the Bt12,000 airfare per person to enable them to return home. The women were required to sign a contract with the Thai government, promising to repay the debt later, the governor added.
The embassy came to their assistance after one of the laid-off women, Saengchan Kaewboonruang, explained their plight to her nephew in Lampang through the Line app chat. The nephew, Anupong Tajina, sought help from the governor who in turn alerted the Thai Embassy.
Saengchan said she and nine other women had travelled to work at a massage parlour in Tianjin but they were laid off 10 months later. They said they did not know what to do next as they could not communicate.
On Tuesday, Saengchan told her relatives via the Line app that they frightened as they travelled by train to Beijing and they did not know where they were being taken. It turned out that the Thai Embassy had arranged for them to be brought to the embassy.
Suwat said two of the women came from Lampang, two were from Chiang Mai and one each from Phayao, Mahasarakham, Nakhon Sawan, Chaiyaphum and Bangkok provinces.
Each of them was fined 10,000 yuan for staying illegally in the country. The embassy paid the fine on their behalf, the governor added.