12 Rohingya arrested for illegal entry in Tak province

FILE PHOTO: Pulitzer Centre

Police in the western Thai province of Tak, near the Burmese border, say 12 Rohingya were arrested in the Mae Sot district and charged with illegal entry.

The Rohingya are an ethnic group in Myanmar. Most live in Rakhine State on Myanmar’s western coast. Myanmar is a majority Buddhist state, but the Rohingya are primarily Muslim, though a small number are Hindu. They are considered “the most persecuted minority in the world” by the UN.

A team of police, military and administrative officials nabbed the 2 men and 8 women, who were accompanied by a 3 year old boy and a 9 year old girl. They were arrested at a rented room near the first Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge across the Moei river in tambon Tha Sai Luat. Officials say all 12 Rohingya will be repatriated to Myanmar after legal proceedings are complete.

When questioned, they said they came from Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine, and were en route to Malaysia. They said they were brought across the border to Mae Sot by brokers who charged them 140,000 baht. They had paid the first half in advance in Burmese currency to the brokers.

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In Mae Sot, they were sheltered by 2 Thai men, who were also arrested and charged with providing shelter for illegal migrants.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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