Tue, July 05, 2022

in-focus

Five Uighur escapees arrested as manhunt continues


POLICE HAVE caught five of 20 Uighurs who escaped from immigration facilities in Songkhla’s Sadao district, national police chief Pol General Chakthip Chaijinda said yesterday.

The manhunt continued to arrest the remaining 15 escapees, Chakthip said, adding that police were looking into the possibility that someone had helped the escapees by picking them up after their escape from detention.
A Songkhla Court earlier issued issued arrest warrants for the 20 who escaped from the facilities early on Monday morning. 
Police also urged the public to advise them if they know the whereabouts of any of the fugitives.
The escapees were among 300 Uighurs who had been detained in Thailand since 2014 pending an investigation into their origins. China has requested that Thailand deport Uighurs, claiming they are militants, with 109 of them already having been sent back to China already, sparking international condemnation. 
Police said the group made two holes in a wall at the facility with sharp objects before climbing out and lowering themselves to the ground using blankets as ropes at about 3am on Monday.
Pol Colonel Seksan Kaewsawang, a commander of Sadao district, said the court had charged the 20 with escaping police detention according to immigration laws and causing damage to property.
Police have urged the public to alert them at 191 or Sadao police station at 074-411-027, 074-523-518 if they spot the escapees.
The Immigration police commissioner is scheduled to visit the area today.
Police said it was not known if the escapees had already crossed the border to Malaysia. They did not have food and could not communicate with villagers in Thailand and Malaysia.
Six senior immigration police officers in Songkhla have been transferred to their regional headquarters and face an investigation following the escape. 
The Uighurs were being detained for allegedly entering the Kingdom illegally. 
They had fled China, reportedly to flee from repression, and wanted to go to Turkey where there is a large Uighur population.

Published : November 21, 2017

By : The Nation