Officials say Thailand has sent eight more ethnic Uighurs to Turkey, days after the Thais came under intense criticism for forcibly deporting more than 100 refugees back to China.

A Thai government official and a Turkish aid agency say four women and four children from the ethnic Muslim minority landed in Istanbul on Saturday. Their arrival raises the number of Uighurs Turkey has taken in from Thailand to 181.

The Thai government says the refugees who were sent to Turkey have Turkish documents, while the 109 Uighurs who were deported China had only Chinese documentation. Human rights groups fear the Uighurs face persecution back in China.

A Chinese state-run newspaper meanwhile has accused Turkey of helping an illegal migration by giving the Uighurs Turkish documentation.