BANGKOK – Immigration Police have so far detained over 1,300 Rohingyas; while the Defense Minister revealed that up to 4,000 Rohingyas have been picked up in Thailand in the past three months, saying all sides must help solve this problem.
Defense Minister Sukampol Suwannathat said the influx of Rohingyas into Thailand is the problem that needs cooperation from all sides in order for it to be solved, especially that from international organizations such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). He admitted that up to 4,000 Rohingyas have been caught entering Thailand illegally in the past three months. Clashes and discrimination in Myanmar have forced many Rohingyas to flee their country for shelter, mostly in Malaysia.
Meanwhile, police reported that over 1,300 Rohingyas have so far been detained in Thailand. They are under the care of the Thai immigration police and other government agencies. On Wednesday the Border Patrol Police and Phang-Nga Water Police arrested nearly 180 Rohingyas. This group of refugees reportedly left Rakhine in Myanmar on January 7th. While at sea, they consumed only water and four meals of raw rice.
In Songkhla, the Rohingyas who were asked to identify the people who trafficked them were too scared to do so. Only after the officials had assured them of their safety that they pointed out the culprit, but then a fight broke out between a Rohingya and a detention officer. The officer will be interrogated.
Most Rohingyas stranded in Thailand had been tortured, beaten, and deprived of food before the Thai authorities found them. All of them wanted to go to a third country and asked, in fear of their own lives, the Thai officials not to send them back to their country.