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A woman who has spent seven years in a refugee camp in Malaysia weeps today after her family's arrest  on Phuket where they hoped to find work

Phuket Police Arrest Sri Lankan Refugees from Malaysia, Seeking Work on Phuket

Wednesday, March 20, 2013
PHUKET: A group of refugees from Sri Lanka was being held under arrest on Phuket today after riding from Malaysia expecting to find work on the holiday island.

The adults in the group of 25 were all able to produce United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees identity cards.

Police at Chalong in Phuket's south gave the group food and offered them showers.

Six women and one young boy were in the group. They had paid an agent between 3000 baht and 5000 baht each to travel to Thailand, leaving Malaysia without knowing where their destination would be.

Immigration officials turned up at Chalong Police Station and began interviewing the Sri Lankans. It's not known at this stage how Phuket officials will handle this unusual arrival.

Used to dealing with Burmese, Cambodians or Rohingya boatpeople, a group of people with refugee status from one country who have been living in another for years provides a different problem.

''Can you please give us a telephone number for the UNHCR,'' asked the mother of a two-year-old boy, Noor Jareena Thayaparan, in tears. Most of the group were content to sit in the shade and see what authorities decide for their future.

The Sri Lankans - believed to be Tamils - spent three days on the road from Kuala Lumpur. They were guided onto Phuket by a man on a green motorcycle, dropped off by a bus, then stopped by police as they walked around Chalong in groups.

First reports indicated they had been apprehended on the bus that brought them to Phuket. That report proved to be incorrect.

Patrol police spotted one group walking around Chalong and then other groups were discovered on foot around the district.

How a busload of Sri Lankans being people-trafficked from Malaysia managed to reach southern Phuket without detection raised fresh issues for officials in Thailand.

The list of refugees provided to Phuketwan is as follows. Most of them are believed to originally come from Trincomalee in Sri Lanka:

Mr Malcosvaran, 25
Mr Pathmaralani, 28
Mr Premaraj, 43
MrManesrawn, 43
Mr Dujkney,35
Ms K. Kalaishire,32
Ms K. Deepalakshmi,22
Mr S. Thaepyapin,46
Ms T. Norikarina,36
Ms T. Hoven Xyin, 2
Mr Gwanarnt, 40
Mr K. Rajasekasary, 32
Mr S. Pirateepan, 26
Mr T. Jeyanthiros, 38
Mr Johns, 20
Ms C.Lavshari,26
Ms Kalaivani, 42
Mr Vimalaratnam, 36
Mr Suren, 30
Mr Hoinoi Gzwans, 40
Mr Jeyarathop, 25
Mr T. Pathmaseelan,36
MrS.Vaikunthan, 43
Mr P.Tharshanirodie, 33
Mr S. Sotheesvaran, 24


Comments have been disabled for this article.


Er Sri Lankan not Sir. Thanks.

Posted by Robin on March 20, 2013 12:36

Editor Comment:

Yes, women and one child, too.


If they were stopped at Tachatchai Checkpoint, why did they end up in Chalong?

Posted by stu on March 20, 2013 12:59

Editor Comment:

Quite right, stu. They were arrested in Chalong.


Ed, sadly I will not be making comments any more unless they are printed if they are reasonable. Some are but are not printed. Many countries took in Refugees for example in this part of the world after the Vietnam war. I only read on here that people are expelled so is this the likely outcome of these people as Thailand has not signed an agreement like it has not done on many other issues like the Hague Convention. Surely on such humane issues like this with proven Refugee status they should be housed and allowed to work. Please advise Ed.

Posted by Happy Farang on March 20, 2013 17:09

Editor Comment:

The people who arrived today have refugee status in Malaysia, Happy Farang. Is that status transferable to Thailand? Probably not, given the quirks of all arbitrary national borders in a world with only artificial boundaries. The one certainty is that they shouldn't be sent back to Sri Lanka. If what we heard today is correct, seven years seems a long time to spend as a refugee without being offered an alternative. But catching a bus or a boat to Thailand is not a solution.

Your other issues are of no concern.


Immigration department truck straight back to Malaysia which is the first point where they claimed refugee status and where the UN refugee council care for them.They know the rules they are trying their luck as financial refugees and have entered Thailand illegally if they allow them to stay the word will get back and illegals will be heading for Thailand in their droves.

Posted by Scunner on March 20, 2013 18:29


They should of course be sent back to Malaysia immediately. As a side note, the civil war in Sri Lanka is over since at least 2 years, so they could safely return there by now. But that is for Malaysian authorities to decide/handle. These days, no Sri Lankan Tamils would ever get refugee status anywhere in the world.

Posted by christian on March 20, 2013 21:02


Who would actually seek asylum in Thailand? Go back to Malaysia, you're better off there...

Posted by Tor on March 21, 2013 02:33


The war is over. Send them back to Sri Lanka, where they belong.

Posted by Doug on March 22, 2013 12:24


Thayaparan is my father .he went with another lady. please send him to srilanka . I want my dad back and noor janner is lady spoiled my mother life . please send my dad to srilanka this is my humble request this is my address no:95, allesgarden, trincomalee, and my dad native is palam potaru.

Posted by T.NABAPRIYAN on May 25, 2013 13:48

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