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Thailand detains 350 'Bangladeshis'
Publication Date : 06-05-2014
Over 350 more allegedly Bangladeshis, who were either illegally going to Malaysia on boats or had trespassed on Thai territory, have been languishing detention in Thailand.
At least 157 detainees have been passing their days inside immigration detention centres in southern Thailand and around 200 have been in prison for at least two months for illegally entering Thailand.
The Thai foreign office in early April informed the Bangladesh Embassy in Thailand of the 157 individuals who had claimed to be Bangladeshis and that they were in two detention centres in Ranong and Phang Nga provinces of Thailand close to the Andaman Sea.
According to official sources at the Bangladesh mission in Bangkok and the foreign ministry in Dhaka, a consular team from Bangladesh embassy there interviewed the 157 individuals, 27 at Ranong and 130 at Phang Nga detention centres, between April 11 and April 13.
To the team it appeared that most of the detainees were indeed Bangladeshis and the Bangladesh embassy in Thailand sent contact details of the individuals to Dhaka so that their identification and nationality could be verified.
Officials at the foreign ministry told The Daily Star that the list of 157 was sent to the home ministry.
However, the home ministry said verifications require time and that they have to be careful since Rohingyas from Myanmar often take the sea route to go to Malaysia illegally as well.
A foreign ministry official said the Thai foreign office would soon give them the list of 200 people who have been imprisoned in Thailand and that they would interview the detainees after that.
Earlier in March, the Thai authorities had informed Bangladesh about the arrest of 214 Bangladeshis and the home ministry has taken measures to verify their nationality.
The local administration in 22 districts has so far confirmed the nationalities of 80 of them.
The government would make arrangements for repatriation of the arrestees after the verifications were completed.
“The number of Bangladeshis being trafficked into Thailand alarmingly increased in the past months and is certainly a matter of concern,” read a letter to the foreign ministry from the Bangladesh embassy in Thailand.
Around 600 claimed to be Bangladeshis are now imprisoned or in detention centres of Thailand.