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Phuket Immigration calls for Rohingya aid



PHUKET: Phuket Immigration is calling for donations of essentials for the 67 Rohingya currently under detention.

“We are requesting donations of food, toiletries and clothes for the Rohingya because we do not know how long they will be detained here, as other shelters are full,” said Capt Angkarn Yasanop of the Immigration office on Phuket Road.

Two groups of Rohingya have been apprehended in the past few days – 91 on Koh Lone on Friday and another 11 on Cape Panwa on Saturday (story here).

Capt Angkarn told the Gazette that “35 men have been transferred to Ranong Immigration. The rest are being detained in Phuket, with women and children now at a shelter in Koh Sireh.”

“We had to transfer some of them because Phuket Immigration was built to accommodate only 50 people,” he said.

Another group of 39 Rohingya were arrested by 20 Takuapa Police at Tab Tawan beach in Phang Nga on Saturday.

“Police received a report from fishermen that they had spotted a ‘suspicious’ boat at sea. At first we saw only an empty boat moored at Tab Tawan beach in Ban Tab Tawan,” Takuapa Police Superintendent Khemarin Hatsiri said.

“Police looked around the area and found the refugees in a sea gypsy village,” Col Khemarin said.

“We arrested 37 men and two women who told us they left Rakhine state in a fishing boat on March 6. They intended to reach either Thailand or Malaysia to look for work,” Col Kemarin explained.

“They said they were very exhausted and hungry from the journey. They survived on water and uncooked rice,” he explained.

“They looked so exhausted, some of them cried out loud when they saw us,” he added.

“We offered them food and water, then brought them all to Takuapa police station to be processed. We intended to transfer them to Phang Nga Immigration,” he said, “but Phang Nga Immigration has no room for them; they are already at maximum capacity with Rohingya arrested previously,” he explained.

“We do not have a place to detain them while they wait to be deported,” he stated.

“I would like to ask the government to resolve the problem of Rohingya as soon as possible,” he added.

— Kritsada Mueanhawong


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