Bangkok (dpa) – The Thai navy pushed a boat carrying at least 300 migrants out to sea after giving them some supplies, a news report said Friday.
The migrants, thought to be ethnic Rohingyas from Myanmar, were spotted off the west coast of southern Thailand late Thursday, and given food, water and medicine, the Bangkok Post reported.
Authorities have decided not to implement proposed camps for migrants until after a regional meeting on the problem scheduled for May 29 in Bangkok, the report said, citing a security advisor to the government.
Thailand “cannot go it alone” with the camps, but would need to talk with the other countries involved first, the advisor said.
Most of the thousands of migrants passing through Thai waters each month are Rohingyas from Myanmar, many of the rest are Bangladeshis.
The migrants spotted Thursday told the Thai navy officials their boat had engine problems and had drifted into Thai waters, and that they wanted to go to Malaysia and Indonesia, it said.
“About 10 people died during the journey. We threw their bodis into the water,” one of them shouted in Rohingya to a boat of reporters that drew alongside.
Also Thursday, Malaysia intercepted two vessels in its northern waters carrying hundreds of migrants as it moved to boost sea patrols.
“Vessels carrying illegal migrants will not be allowed to enter Malaysian waters,” the director general of Malaysia’s Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), Amdan Kurish, said.
Amdan said there were persistent reports that more vessels carrying Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants were heading for Malaysia.
More than 1,000 Rohingyas and Bangladeshis landed in Malaysia’s northern island of Langkawi this week.