Separating mother from kids 'not a rights violation'

Separating mother from kids 'not a rights violation'

The Immigration Bureau said on Friday that the detention of the wife and children of a top Arakan Army commander was not a violation of human rights as she was held due to a revoked passport.

"Officials follow every immigration procedure regardless of the travellers' status or situation," bureau chief Pol Lt Gen Sompong Chingduang told media.

The bureau has been criticised for detaining Hnin Zar Phyu, 38, wife of Tun Myat Naing on Dec 7 and taking her two children -- an 11 year old and a three year old -- to a separate shelter. "Our actions complied with the international standard on human rights," he insisted.

Pol Lt Gen Sompong did not say whether they will be sent back to Myanmar, only revealing that Hnin Zar Phyu had told the United Nations about her wish to be an exile in a third country.

Hnin Zar Phyu had gone to the immigration office in Chiang Mai to renew her visa, but was arrested after her passport was found to have been cancelled by Myanmar authorities.

The Arakan Army is an insurgent group that is fighting for greater autonomy in Rakhine state in northwest Myanmar.

In another development, a group of Chinese nationals have been arrested for selling Buddhist amulets to tourists at a temple in Chon Buri's Sri Racha district, according to Pol Maj Gen Archayon Kraithong, commander of Immigration Division 3.

Pol Maj Gen Archayon told media yesterday that officials were tipped off about a group of Chinese people selling amulets to tourists for as much as 10,000 baht.

Among the nine offenders, only one of them, 26-year-old Ms You, confessed they had been running the business for five days. Officials had also learned that four Chinese tour companies had persuaded tourists to buy these amulets, he said. The offenders face a charge of violating the immigration act and are detained at Sri Racha police station.

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