Rohingya exodus piles pressure on Bangkok
Reports say criminal elements selling boatloads of refugees to traffickers
BANGKOK - Boatloads of Rohingya are turning up in southern Thailand and presenting the Thai government with a dilemma.
While it does not want to house them for the long term, it also does not want to be seen as turning its back on the stateless Muslims, who have been leaving Myanmar in droves following deadly sectarian clashes last year.
More than 1,000 Rohingya are being housed in shelters and fed by the Thai government after raids uncovered hundreds of suspected trafficking victims.
Army officials quoted by the Bangkok Post estimate that there have been 4,000 arrivals in the past three months alone. The large numbers have raised uncomfortable questions about the trafficking and people smuggling networks feeding off the Rohingya's desperation, as well as official complicity in the trade. Recent reports that two senior soldiers were being investigated for suspected involvement in trafficking Rohingya have lent more weight to such allegations.