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16 suspected Uighurs found in Sa Kaew

In response to a tip-off, a team of soldiers and immigration officials yesterday arrested 16 suspected illegal migrants, including 10 children, in Sa Kaew.

The group was carrying a large sum of foreign currency, worth more than Bt860,000, but no had travel documents. These migrants are believed to be more Uighurs from western China.

They were found on the roadside early yesterday apparently after a pickup abandoned them just 150 metres from a checkpoint.

Relevant authorities set up the checkpoint at a key intersection after they received clues that a human-trafficking gang was going to smuggle Uighur people into Thailand.

One of the arrested men identified himself as Muhammad, aged 24, and said he and his group were heading to Malaysia.

Police charged the 16 with illegally entering Thailand. An investigation is starting to try and determine who brought them to Thailand.

The discovery follows a series of arrests of suspected Uighurs in the far South and near the eastern border with Cambodia.

Rights groups have warned Thailand not to return the Uighur people to China because of fears they will face persecution or worse.


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