Published January 11, 2013
SONGKHLA, Thailand – Thai authorities say they have rescued nearly 700 boat people from Myanmar's beleaguered Rohingya minority who were being held by alleged human traffickers in the country's south.
Police Maj. Col. Thanusin Duangkaewngam says police and government officials raided a warehouse in Sadao district in Songkhla province on Friday and rescued 307 Rohingya boat people.
He says the migrants told police they had voluntarily come to Thailand to travel to a third country.
Police arrested eight suspects believed to be traffickers.
The authorities also raided makeshift shelters in the same district on Thursday and discovered 397 Rohingya.
Officials say the migrants will be repatriated to Myanmar.
Human rights activists have called for the Thai government not to deport the Rohingya to Myanmar, where they face widespread discrimination.