One woman who had nine fishing trawler workers seized in the raid was surprised by the arrests. She said she had paid 200,000 baht to Immigration two months ago to prevent such a raid.
The woman, who gave her name as 'Pa,' said the workers were taken from a vessel at the fishing port at Koh Sireh, east of Phuket City.
Another woman who had workers arrested said: ''If Immigration arrest our workers, how can be get out to sea to catch the fish?''
Phuket Immigration Superintendent Colonel Sanchai Chotkayaikij said the Commander of the Immigration Bueau in Thailand had ordered a crackdown.
He said the crackdown would continue until August 31 and then be resumed in a similar way in September.
''These people are mostly seeking jobs on Phuket,'' he said. Most of the arrests were on boats around the east coast port.
Khun Pa told Phuketwan that some of the workers had been with her for 10 years. She said she had to spend 600,000 baht every month for fuel and wages and other items to keep her single-boat fishing operation going, and there were fewer fish to catch off Phuket.
She had 20 Thais and Burmese working for her. One of the officials who took part in yesterday's raid told her that the crackdown was generated by allegations of trafficking of Rohingya in Thailand, she said.
The 84 people arrested - including four women - were mostly Burmese with four Vietnamese, two Indians, two Pakistanis and two Cambodians.
The Indians, the Pakistanis and the Vietnamese were arrested in Patong, with expired visas. They will be charged with overstaying.
All 84 were due to be confined at Phuket Immigration cells overnight, where space was created after 36 Rohingya escaped last weekend.