KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The 11-year-old Thai girl who married a 41-year-old Malaysian man has been sent back to Thailand and is now in the southern province of Narathiwat, according to a Thai source.
The source, who is a social activist, said the Kelantan state government sent her back on Wednesday (Aug 8).
The Thai authorities received her and she is now under the care of the Social Development and Human Security Ministry.
"The ministry is supposed to protect the girl and rehabilitate her. It's right for the Thai government to take the girl back, but they have to have a long-term plan. The girl's family is poor and no one would care for them," the activist said.
While the ministry would shelter her, he said that there was concern that religious bodies might threaten the ministry and pressure it to let her remain with the man.
The issue surfaced after the report about the man marrying the young Thai girl in Gua Musang, Kelantan, went viral on social media in June and drew flak from many parties over the issue of child marriage.
Initial investigations by the Kelantan Welfare Department found that the marriage took place in Golok, Thailand.
The girl's parents are said to be Thai nationals.
The man was fined a mere RM1,800 (S$604) by the Gua Musang Syariah Court.
The source said that the order for the girl to leave was sudden. She did not even have time to pack, as she had to leave immediately.