More than 50 Burmese illegal migrants have suffocated in the back of a lorry taking them to southern Thailand, Thai police say.
The 54 migrants were found dead inside the packed container lorry after dozens more managed to escape from the vehicle and flag down police.
Police said the migrants had suffocated after the ventilation failed.
Thailand acts as a magnet for poor Burmese workers, with thousands risking the often perilous journey there.
Police said that the Burmese workers had crossed by boat to the Thai town of Ranong from Burma's southern tip at Victoria Point - a route often used by illegal immigrants.
They had then been packed into an airtight container on a lorry for the journey to the resort island of Phuket, but the ventilation in the container failed, Col Kraithong Chanthongbai said.
EXODUS FROM BURMA
Thailand: 141,000 refugees in camps, about 500,000 registered migrants, up to 1,350,000 unregistered
Bangladesh: 27,000 refugees in camps, 200,000 unregistered
Malaysia: 30,000 refugees, several thousand unregistered
India and China: Tens of thousands of unregistered workers in border states of Mizoram and Yunnan respectively
Sources: UNHCR, NGOs
"The people said they tried to bang on the walls of the container to tell the driver they were dying, but he told them to shut up as police would hear them when they crossed through checkpoints inside Thailand," he told the French news agency AFP.
Police found 54 dead workers - 37 women and 17 men - inside the container, which measured just 6 metres by 2.2 metres.
Twenty-one other workers were taken to hospital suffering from dehydration and lack of oxygen, he said.
Those who did not require hospital treatment were detained by the Thai authorities.
The driver of the lorry fled the scene.
There are thought to be up to two million Burmese workers in Thailand, more than half of whom are in the country illegally.
They fill the low-paid, often dangerous jobs in sectors including textiles, construction and fisheries that Thai workers do not want.
But these jobs offer the migrants salaries that far exceed what they could earn in military-ruled Burma, one of the region's most impoverished nations.
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