231 Hmong refugees imprisoned
Another group of Hmong refugees fleeing oppression in Laos has been detained in Phetchabun's Khao Kho district for illegal entry, police said yesterday.
The 118 males and 113 females were arrested on Monday afternoon and are being held in the district police station's front yard because the station does not have enough cells to hold them.
Most members of the group are reportedly new arrivals seeking refuge at the province's Ban Huay Nam Khao, where about 6,500 ethnic Hmong are being sheltered.
Many arrived from Laos on Monday and asked the police to give them asylum after the military, which maintains order at Ban Huay Nam Khao, refused to allow them to stay in the shelter, according to a villager.
Most of the Hmong at the shelter claim they fought on behalf of or were closely associated with the US Central Intelligence Agency in its secret war against the communists in the 1960s and 70s.
Khao Kho police have been detaining ethnic Hmong fleeing Laos since last year, charging them with illegal entry and preparing to repatriate them to their homeland. A group of 27 Hmong was arrested in May. Prior to Monday's arrest, police arrested 17 ethnic Hmong on Saturday. They are being held at Khao Kho police station.
Authorities in Bangkok have no clear policy for dealing with the influx and have not instructed local authorities on how to handle the refugee claimants.