Myanmar refugee drowns off Langkawi
KUALA LUMPUR - A refugee from Myanmar drowned and two others were injured off Malaysia when the captain of their boat forced hundreds of them to swim ashore, news reports said Monday.
- Published: 31/12/2012 at 11:28 AM
- Newspaper section: breakingnews
The critically injured men were hospitalised, while the other 449 members of the group were taken to an immigration detention centre, the Star daily quoted Harrith Kam Abdullah, police chief of Langkawi island, as saying.
Langkawi lies off the west coast of Malaysia near the Thai border in Satun province.
The refugees, aged between 7 and 50, were forced to swim the 500 metres to shore after paying US$300 (9,000 baht) each for the 12-day trip from Myanmar in a 30-metre boat, news agency Bernama said.
They were members of the Rohingya Muslim ethnic group, Bernama said.
Long-standing persecution of Rohingyas has flared up since June in the west of Myanmar, which does not recognise them as one of the country's indigenous ethnic groups or grant them citizenship.
Tens of thousands of displaced Rohingyas are in UN-sponsored camps over the border in Bangladesh, and thousands more have sought refuge in Thailand and Malaysia.
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- Writer: dpa