Talks between the Thai military and the Myanmar authorities in this border zone are continuing in an attempt to release 80 Thai and Lao nationals detained across the border for forest encroachment, but 18 of the group reportedly escaped.
The initial investigation found that the Thai and Lao workers were defrauded by brokers to buy plots of land at a cheap price but they did not realise that the land was Myanmar territory.
According to the report, three companies of Myanmar troops detained the Thai and Lao nationals who allegedly cut trees and were clearing the area to plant new rubber plantations in Myanmar territory.
An unknown number of workers are believed still hidden in the forest waiting to return to Thailand but some reports said there were hundreds.
The area was identified as Myanmar's Koh Song, opposite Ranong's Kra Buri district.
The workers were detained on Wednesday at 6.30pm. Three Thais escaped at that time and informed the Thai authorities.
The Tepsatree Task Force was negotiating with the Myanmar authorities to release the detainees and an answer is expected in several days. However, contact is being made hourly to track progress.
The negotiation group which entered Myanmar to observe the situation reported that the authorities there are taking good care of the detainees, whom they said were not under arrest. Myanmar authorities wanted to inform them that the area was not Thai territory and warned them earlier, but the warning was ignored.