Police Launch Probe Over 59 Rohingya Dumped off Satun Mainland

Thai police have launched an investigation to find out who abandoned 59 Rohingya boaters on an island off Satun and told them to have arrived in Malaysia, fearing human trafficking.

Deputy Police Chief Roy Inkhapairoj said officers had no idea who had transported and dropped off the group, which included five children, on Thai waters.

But Pol Gen Roy, who is also director of the Child Protection and Anti-Human Trafficking Center, said Rohingya migrants could be victims of human traffickers.

The deputy police chief ordered assistant national police chief Pol Lt Gen Surachate Hakparn to travel to the southern province to assist in the investigation and help local officers clear up the case.

The boat with the 59 Rohingya migrants was found by the Royal Thai Navy coast guard on the island of Koh Dong, about 20 kilometers from Koh Lipe, off mainland Satun on Saturday. The group of boaters included 31 men, 23 women, and five children.

On Saturday, Satun governor Ekkarath Leesen said preliminary interrogation revealed the 59 immigrants had arrived in Malaysia by boat from Bangladesh. Mr. Ekkarath stated that they were dumped off on the island approximately a week ago, and the boat reportedly sailed away shortly after.

The governor clarified that the Rohingya would be sent back to Bangladesh.

Navy spokesperson Pokkrong Monthatphalin later revealed they departed Bangladesh in a trawler on Sunday.

The skipper allegedly ordered the immigrant group to alight on the island, stating that Koh Dong was in Malaysian territory, the spokesperson added.

A Tor 996 patrol boat took the 59 people to mainland Satun. Vice Adm Pokkrong said they were then taken to the Langu police station in the Langu district, where they face charges of illegal entry into Thailand.

The Rohingya have been detained at the 436th Company of the Border Patrol Police in Muang district since then, he went on.

In response, the navy has been ordered to deploy more patrols in the Andaman Sea and islands near Malaysia.