People smugglers abandon 60 Myanmar nationals on Thai-Malaysia border
KUALA LUMPUR ― Sixty Myanmar nationals seeking to cross into Malaysian were stranded at the Thai-Malaysia border by human traffickers, an Australian broadcaster reported today.
According to ABC News, Thai police found the group at an abandoned house near the border, where they had reportedly stayed for the past week, unsure if the people smugglers would return.
Five of the 60 people are from Myanmar’s persecuted Rohingya community, the report said.
“They did not come by boat but crossed from the border on land,” Colonel Pongpan Sangsa-nga, superintendent of Padang Besar police in Thailand’s Songkhla province, was quoted saying.
Thai police said that it would identify the trafficking victims and illegal migrants accordingly, and return the latter group to their home countries.
Both Thai and Malaysian authorities have been on high alert to trafficking activities since the discovery of mass graves at the Thailand-Malaysia border last year.
In May last year, Malaysian authorities confirmed the discovery of 139 mass grave sites, believed to have contained migrants, and also 28 human trafficking camps in the country’s northern region bordering Thailand.
The discovery came shortly after thousands of persecuted Rohingyas and Bangladeshis were left stranded at sea after being abandoned by people smugglers on their boats.
Several Southeast Asian countries, including Malaysia, took some of the refugees in, but it sparked a hunt for trafficking sources which unearthed the mass graves.
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