102 Rohingya caught in Phuket

Police on Saturday rounded up 102 Rohingya migrants in Phuket.

Pol Lt Col Chatchai Sakdee of the Phuket Marine Police said he received a report at 6.30am that a group of Rohingya had been found along with their vessel on Loan Island.

When officers arrived, they found 91 migrants. They told police that they had left Myanmar's Rakhine state on March 13 and planned to sail to Sungai Kolok district in Narathiwat.

However, they had to stop at the island off Phuket after finding a leak in their wooden boat, which was about 12 to 14 metres long.

Eleven more Rohingya migrants were discovered near the area and police suspected that they had jumped off the boat and swam to shore.

Out of the 102 Rohingya, 22 were children.

Reports said they were taken to a detention centre and would be pushed back to sea after their vessel is repaired.

Hundreds of Rohingya have arrived in Thailand in recent months, seeking to escape sectarian violence in western Myanmar. Others have been brought from Myanmar by traffickers, some of them Thai, to be used as labourers in Thailand and Malaysia.

Thai authorities have denied repeated allegations of mistreatment of the migrants. In one case, witnesses claim navy officers shot at a group of Rohingya last month, resulting in two deaths. The UN High Commission for refugees is still trying to verify the accounts.

The government says its treatment of the Rohingya has been within international norms, and that it is working with the UN as well as other countries to find solutions to the migrants' plight.

Related search: rohingya, illegal migrants, phuket, Thailand, Myanmar, Rakhine

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