According to the reporters' boss, three Myanmar journalists and two activists who crossed the border into Thailand were detained for illegal entry and may face deportation.
If they were forced back to Myanmar, where the military seized power in a coup on 1 February and has since detained hundreds of journalists, their lives will be "in extreme danger," according to DVB (Democratic Voice of Burma).
In March, the junta suspended DVB and many other media outlets in an effort to silence critical coverage of anti-junta protests. Despite the dangers, journalists have continued to operate in secret, reporting the military's brutal crackdowns, which have resulted in the deaths of 781 civilians, including 52 children.
According to the advocacy group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners in Burma, the military has detained 4,916 people since February. The vast majority are now being held in prison, mostly in unidentified places.
Those being detained by the military have been subjected to systematic allegations of torture. The poet Khet Thi, who opposed the ruling junta, died in detention on Monday, according to reports. His organs were removed and his body was returned, according to his relatives.
The DVB reporters "will face certain detention and harassment, if not worse, for their job and affiliation with the DVB," according to the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand, and they should not be deported back to Myanmar.
“Myanmar's military government has routinely harassed and imprisoned journalists and Thai authorities should not compel these members of the press to face potentially serious punishment for their work,” said Shawn Crispin, senior Southeast Asia delegate for the Committee to Protect Journalists.
DVB's executive director, Aye Chan Naing, issued a statement pleading for assistance from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
Five Myanmar people were detained for illegally entering Thailand, according to Thapanapong Chairangsri, the head of police in the San Sai district outside Chiang Mai, who told Reuters that they will be brought to court on Tuesday.
He stated that they would be released in compliance with the law, but that they would be kept in custody for 14 days due to the coronavirus outbreak before being turned over to immigration authorities.