Thailand deports dozens of Muslims headed to south

23rd Feb 2019
Thailand deports dozens of Muslims headed to south

(AA): Thailand deported more than 30 Muslims from Cambodia who had come to the Buddhist-majority country on valid visas.

Thai police deported the 34 Muslims who allegedly wanted to work in the troubled deep South. The group included 32 males and 2 females, according to the Bangkok Post newspaper.

Police claimed the visitors ‘‘did not meet immigration requirements’’.

‘‘All of them were traveling on tourist visas but many said they planned to work in the southern provinces,’’ the newspaper quoted Thai police.

After crossing the Thai-Cambodian frontier into Sa Kaeo region, the group was asked to return to the Cambodian border town of Poipet.

They reached the Sa Kaeo region where they were detained after police sought the purpose of the visit. Cambodian authorities were also asked to join the investigation.

Thai police argued to ‘‘prevent any misunderstanding’’ the group was detained.

‘‘The officers found their trips were not endorsed by authorized officials and the group could not tell them exactly where they planned to stay in Thailand,’’ the newspaper said.

‘‘An inspection also found that each of them brought between 1,000 and 3,000 Thai baht [$32 – $96], which fell short of the minimum requirement of 20,000 baht [$639],’’ police added.

The newspaper said Thai railway police on Thursday in Songkhla province’s Hat Yai district dealt with a ‘‘similar case of illegal travelers involving three Cambodian Muslims.’’

Two did not have passports, however, they were on their way to Malaysia, the news report added.

Thailand is facing decades-long insurgency in its south where Muslim groups want independence or greater autonomy.

[Map of Thailand by Globe-trotter/Creative Commons]

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