Thailand waiting for Malaysia's decision on detained Uighur men

BANGKOK: Thailand will wait for Malaysia's decision regarding the fate of 11 Uighur men detained by the neigbouring country following their escape from a detention centre in Sadao November last year.

Its National Security Council (NSC) secretary-general Gen Wanlop Raksanor said, Malaysia would deal with the Uighur escapees according to their law as it involved illegal entry into the country.

"We have to wait for Malaysian authority's action. We also have to look into Malaysian law regarding the matter… We have to wait for a decision from Malaysia first, then they will contact us on what to do with this issue," he told Bernama when contacted.

He was asked if Thailand would ask Malaysia to repatriate the captured Uighur men back to Thailand.

Wanlop, who was appointed to the job in August last year, expressed his confidence that Malaysia would have a solution on the matter.

A total of 20 Uighur men broke free from an immigration detention centre in Sadao, southern Thailand in November last year by drilling holes on its wall and escaped to the nearby jungles in Thai-Malaysia border.

Eleven of them were said to have been arrested by the Malaysian authorities not long after the incident, while the rest were nabbed by Thailand.

Bangkok had said between 100 to 200 Uighur were currently detained in Thailand.

The Uighur are a Turkic ethnic group living in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region in China.

Yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi confirmed that China had officially requested Malaysia to repatriate the 11 Uighur men it currently held.

Zahid, who is also the Home Minister, said Malaysia was currently considering the request, but detailed investigations were also being done by the police to see whether the men were involved in any terror activities. - BERNAMA