A LARGE group of 59 Rohingya refugees heading to take up jobs in Malaysia were rescued last night (June 4) after being abandoned for a week on an island that is part the Tarutao National Marine Park off Satun province, Amarin TV and Sanook.com said today.
This large group of Rohinya, 23 female, 31 male and five children, were earlier spotted sitting in groups on rocky outcrops at Koh Dong’s Kamnan Bay, which is 9 nautical miles from Koh Lipe, where they had been stranded for a week.
Thai soldiers and police sailed to Koh Dong on patrol boat 996 from Air and Coastal Defence Command on Koh Lipe and sent rubber dinghies to gradually move the abandoned Rohinya to this boat.
They were then taken to Koh Lipe police station where their arrest on illegal immigration charges was recorded for further legal action.
Koh Dong is just five nautical miles away from the spot where a boat carrying Rohinya had capsized in June 2019.
Upon being questioned this group of Rohinya said 180 of them had paid 5,000 ringgit each to sail to Malaysia around two months and seven days ago. While 120 of them had reached Malaysia, they had all been arrested there. The skipper of their boat had abandoned them on this island after they were unable to fully pay their fare by fooling them that this was Malaysia’s Langkawi island.
Satun Governor Ekarat Leesen said this party of Rohinya were being taken care of according to humanitarian principles being given rice and water while a health team is checking them for coronavirus infection.
A multi-disciplinary team is investigating whether or not they trip to Malaysia falls under the category of human trafficking but initially it has been found that this is the case.
The large group of Rohingya stranded on Koh Dong being rescued by Thai soldiers and police. Photos: Amarin TV and Sanook.com