Malaysian army nabs Uighur escapee at Kedah town bordering Thailand

Police point at holes through which 20 ethnic Uighurs escaped from an immigration detention centre in Sadao district in the southern Thai province of Songkhla.

ALOR SETAR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A Uighur man, who was among 20 detainees who fled from a detention centre at Sadao in southern Thailand, was arrested on Wednesday (Nov 22) at a Malaysian town near the border with Thailand.

The man was nabbed at a security post near Bukit Kayu Hitam, Kedah's main border town.

Kedah police chief Commissioner Asri Yusoff said the man named Mohammatimin, who is in his 30s, was detained by army personnel guarding the area at about 4pm on Tuesday (Nov 21).

"Our Thai counterpart has been informed of the man's arrest. He is being held at the Jitra police station lock-up before he is handed over to the Thai authorities," Datuk Asri told the media.

"He was arrested for entering the country illegally," he said.

Twenty Uighurs reportedly escaped from the Thai immigration detention centre at about 3am on Monday.

Five were caught and the rest are believed to have crossed the border into Malaysia. The Uighurs are part of the estimated 200 being held at Thai immigration detention centres and waiting to be sent back to China on Beijing's insistence.

Earlier on Wednesday, Malaysian police said they have stepped up patrols in areas bordering Thailand to prevent the illegal entry of the Uighurs.

Inspector-General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun said security measures were also taken by the army in the border areas of Kedah, Kelantan and Perak.

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