Five cops in hot water over Uighur escapes

Five cops in hot water over Uighur escapes

Five immigration policemen face transfer after seven Uighur migrants broke out of a detention cell in Mukdahan yesterday.

Pol Maj Gen Natthawat Kandee, commander of the Immigration Division 4, said the transfer order had been issued in response to the police officers' lax supervision of the detainees. The Uighur migrants, all male, are aged between 22 and 38.

Shortly after fleeing, they rounded upon a farmer, tied him up and stole a cap gun from him. Border patrol police were then mobilised to hunt down the escapees and they later captured one of them, identified as Memet Aihen, 31.

Mr Aihen told police some of the Uighur migrants were planning to go to Laos, while others were heading to Bangkok.

The migrants shook the cell doors until they came loose. The noise was drowned out by renovation work going on in the next cell.

Facing transfer are Pol Lt Col Theerawat Thipthanawiwat, deputy superintendent of Mukdahan immigration police; Pol Maj Wiwat Pongpanyasri, inspector; Pol Sub Lt Wichian Sritham, deputy inspector for investigation; Pol Sub Lt Supoj Yotwicha, deputy inspector; and Pol Snr Sgt Maj Apisit Lao-utha, a squad leader.

Thailand is a key destination for ethnic Uighurs, a Muslim Turkic minority originating in China's Xinjiang province.

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