Influx of Rohingya straining Phang Nga Immigration facilities

PHUKET: The mass influx of Rohingya refugees – 400 within four days – landing in Phang Nga, north of Phuket, this week is straining the capacity of immigration detention centers in the province, said Phang Nga Governor Thamrong Charoenkul.

The news follows an initial 171 Rohingya refugees, fleeing persecution in their homeland in Myanmar, being taken into custody in Phang Nga’s Kuraburi District on Thursday (story here).

“While they are waiting to be deported, we do not have enough space for them,” Governor Thamrong said.

“We have sent 42 women and children, including one pregnant woman, to Takua Pa and we have moved others to Phang Nga Provincial Police Station near the provincial immigration office.

“But there are still 214 people in the Phang Nga immigration center, which was built to house 150,” he explained.

Touring detention centers yesterday, Governor Thamrong urged his officers to take good care of the refugees, ensuring the migrants, especially the women and children, had adequate space to stay and sufficient food.

At the same time, he ordered police and Phang Nga administration officers to carefully monitor the external borders in Kuraburi, Takua Pa and Tai Muang districts of Phang Nga, the districts where most of the Rohingya were caught.

The news also follows Royal Thai Armed Forces Supreme Commander General Thanasak Patimaprakorn yesterday voicing his concern over the impact the growing number of Rohingya refugees are having on Thailand’s capacity to deal with them.

He said that standard procedures in dealing with illegal immigrants, which stipulate that they be repatriated, should be maintained, or else the illegal entry of Rohingya into Thailand would continue.

In the meantime, “Thailand is following a principle of feeding them and taking care of them, on humanitarian grounds,” he added.

(For the full report on Gen Thanasak’s comments yesterday, click here)

— Kritsada Mueanhawong

Phuket News
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