Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Uighurs ‘arrested’ at border

Uighurs ‘arrested’ at border

A Chinese paramilitary policeman watches two Uighurs pass the Grand Bazaar in China’s Xinjiang province
A Chinese paramilitary policeman watches two Uighurs pass the Grand Bazaar in China’s Xinjiang province. AFP

Uighurs ‘arrested’ at border

A group of 14 ethnic minority Uighurs, including six children, fleeing China were arrested on Saturday in the Thai border province of Sa Keo after Cambodian smugglers deserted them on Friday, Thai media reported yesterday.

The five men, three women and six children who were apprehended claim they were en route to Turkey, which shares ethnic links with Uighurs and is home to a large Uighur community, the report states.

“After searching the refugees, authorities found four cell-phones with the data wiped clean and 1,027 yuan [about $165] and $42,950,” according to Thailand’s The Nation.

Violence between the mostly Muslim minority group and ethnic Han Chinese has been increasing in recent years, leading many Uighurs – who say oppression perpetuated by the Chinese government is unliveable – to flee.

On March 23, a group of 15 Uighurs fleeing China were also arrested in Sa Keo after being detained by authorities in Cambodia hours earlier, Human Rights Watch and an eyewitness source reported.

Cambodian government officials at the time had denied or declined to comment on allegations that 15 foreigners had either been arrested or deported.

So Channary, commander of the border police in Banteay Meanchey province, yesterday said he had heard no reports of Uighurs deported to Thailand.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan and National Police spokesman Kirt Chantharith both said they had no knowledge of Saturday’s arrests.

“Thai authorities should immediately grant access to the UNHCR to assess whether these people wish to seek refugee status, and while any such claims for asylum are pending should not send them back to China,” Phil Robertson, HRW’s deputy Asia director, said.

Vivian Tan, a spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees office in Bangkok, said she had not heard about the arrests.

MOST VIEWED

  • Diplomatic passports issued to foreigners to be annulled

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation will move to annul diplomatic passports issued to those not born in Cambodia. Analysts say the move may be in relation to reports that former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra used a Cambodian passport to register as

  • The hairy little heroes saving many lives in rural Cambodia

    IN RURAL Siem Reap province, rats dare to tread where no person will, as these hairy little heroes place their lives on the line each day for the good of the local community. The rodents are the most important members of a special team, leading

  • Hun Sen warns Irish MP of EBA ‘mistake’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Saturday told former Irish premier Enda Kenny, still a member of the EU nation’s parliament, that the 28-nation bloc should not make a “third mistake” regarding Cambodia by using the preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement to “take 16 million

  • PM warns EU and opposition on 34th anniversary of his rule

    HUN Sen reached the milestone of 34 years as Cambodian prime minister on Monday and used the groundbreaking ceremony for a new ring road around Phnom Penh to tell the international community that putting sanctions on the Kingdom meant killing the opposition. “Please don’t forget