A co-sojourner emailed this news story to me, feeling really angry about it. It’s a really sad story.
It’s so obvious that the Thai government have floated these people out to the big sea to whither and die. And newly elected fresh-faced Thai Prime Minister Abhisit refered the investigation of this case back to the very people who conducted these inhumane acts. Tells you pretty much what he stands for.
Interestingly, Abhisit was put up there by the people who closed the Bangkok International Airport late last year for almost 2 weeks, the same elite class of the Thai society who wants to abolish free and fair elections because ‘the commoners do not know how to vote for the right leaders’. Sad.
“Fishermen found a wooden boat without an engine drifting in the sea with 198 Myanmar [Burmese] migrants,” said the Indonesian navy officer Tedi Sutardi. “They said the Thai authorities towed them out to sea and set them adrift.
“Their boat was small. It’s only 12m [40ft] long and 3m wide. It had almost come apart and was held together with ropes. They were standing in the boat for 21 days because there was no space to sit. It’s a miracle they survived.”
According to Sutardi, the survivors recounted beatings by the Thai security forces after their arrest for illegal entry.
The Rohingya – a stateless minority with few rights – say they left Burma to escape brutal treatment at the hands of the military junta.
Thousands cross into neighbouring Bangladesh during the dry season when seas are calmer. From there they board rickety boats in the hope of reaching Thailanden route to Muslim countries such as Malaysia or Indonesia, guided by people smugglers who charge up to £500 each.