Arranged by a smuggling syndicate, A Hong and his young teen sister (along with a group of Burmese young) sneak across the Myanmar/Thailand border and arrive at a remote town called Dagudi in Northern Thailand. A secret agreement to sell A Hong’s sister for cash is made between the gangsters and A Hong’s mother, and his sister is taken away upon their arrival. His sister is now under the care of a young Burmese woman named San Mei, who also has plans of escaping to a better life.
Desperate to find a way to buy his sister back, A Hong goes to Bangkok and works under a tour guide who has lived in Thailand illegally for years. When a disastrous flood ruins the tourist season, A Hong makes a dangerous gamble to sell a batch of medicine that can be turned into a powerful narcotic to the gangsters who have taken his sister.
Unfolding through two parallel narratives, POOR FOLK is a border story woven with touches of Tolstoy, amphetamines and Durian.