Rohingya boat people to be repatriated to Myanmar
PHUKET (AP) - Rights groups have called on the Thai government to scrap its plan to deport 73 refugees from Myanmar's Rohingya minority found adrift off a Thai resort island.
A boat carrying the asylum seekers was found adrift in the Andaman Sea on New Year's Day as they were headed to Malaysia, Thailand's southern neighbour. Thai officials supplied medicine, food, water and fuel for them to carry on their journey without landing in Thailand, as the country's policy is to not accept boat people but to aid them in reaching a third country.
"The plan was averted after the refugees were weak and too exhausted. They also feared of mishaps at sea," Phuket provincial governor Maitri Inthusut said.
The refugees left Phuket by bus on Wednesday and were on their way to a Thai-Myanmar border checkpoint in Ranong province, 460km south-west of Bangkok, Police Lieutenant Colonel Chidchanok Sakornyen said on Thursday.