Boat people scandal : from sea+death to jail+fine… there is an improvement

66 illegal Rohingya migrants sent before a Thai judge in this gateway to Myanmar on Wednesday were fined 1,000 baht each (nearly US$30), and when none were able to produce the funds, the judge sentenced them each to five days imprisonment.

Ranong police superintendent Pol.Col. Veerasilp Kwanseng earlier explained that the 66 Rohingyas were the adult men present among 78 boat people detained by the navy on Tuesday.

Twelve of the Rohingya migrants were found to be minors– underage children looking for work, but too young for the Thai authorities to prosecute. The 12 are now being cared for in police custody at the Ranong immigration police office. (TNA)

An improvement If we may say. Definitely… (I would like to add a smiley, but It would be improper).

Question : what will happen after 5 days ? The sea again ?

In a way, the thai authorities are… trapped. Ater the terrible fiasco of the boat people scandal, they are trapped.

And now, they have to take into account what the international community is saying.

12 Responses to “Boat people scandal : from sea+death to jail+fine… there is an improvement”

  1. 1 chinesethai 29 January 2009 at 4:14 am

    I would proudly say that in general Thais are a generous people. If you travel to Bangkok outskirts, you’d find a lot of South Asian people selling “Roti” snacks. Those are mostly the Rohingyas. Although most of us are not aware of their plight and assume that they are just Bangladeshis, we never call the police to round them up.

    But that we are very furious this couple of days is because we feel that CNN, as well as BBC and some western media, is very unfair to us. With just anecdotals from some NGO and a couple of pictures, they came to unusually quick conclusion right away that the Thai army officers beat and tortured these boat people.

    In fact, the news first emerged in SCMP, which coincidentally is owned by Thaksin’s close friend. Then it spread like wild fire after Jonathan Head of BBC and Dan Rivers of CNN, 2 journalists who already hold much prejudice towards Thailand, made this a big headline, called a Anti-Thailand Canadian-based NGO as far away as in Ottawa, wrote carefully worded message as if Thais have murdered thousands of the Rohingyas.

    As time goes by, it could possibly turn out to be that the 500-700 missing people are probably an exaggerated estimate by that NGO, who took the death toll from past incidences and mix them up in the report to purposely make Thailand, especially Abhisit, who they foolishly believed is backed by the military, look bad. If people of such large number have died in the sea, there must have been reports of dead bodies taken by sea wave found around that area.

  2. 2 crocodilexp 29 January 2009 at 7:51 am


    Saying that world media are “unfair” to Thailand is like saying I’m unfair for speaking impolite words to an axe-wielding murderer. The case in point is basically premeditated mass murder of several hundred people. Ok, let’s say the media is exaggerating but 10x (unlikely), and it’s only 50-70 people who died. Is that not enough for you?

    If Thais are squeaky clean, why did the army deny info to their own Commander-in-chief (Abhisit) on the fate of the remaining Rohingyas after the whole affair was exposed (turns out that most likely too were towed and left to die). There is plenty of evidence on this one, and survivors found in such state that there’s no doubt many of their fellow passengers perished.

    Sure, normal Thais are nice to their roti vendors, but that proves nothing at all. I’m sure a large majority of the Germans did nothing to actively hurt the Jews back in the 30s.

  3. 3 Bedwyr 29 January 2009 at 9:21 am

    You will have to forgive ChineseThai, he is hurting to be hearing of the devastatingly bad reputation of Thais in the world. Which by and large is well-deserved and which has nothing whatever to do with people not liking Thais, though that is almost axiomatic. Thais have no friends overseas and it is their own behaviour that is to be blamed.

    Yes the rural Thai is not the same, but the power and overseas image of Thais is carried by the generally despicable Bangkok elite and wealthy.

    Like all people not yet emotionally ready for informed debate, ChineseThai responded defensively, trying to find justifications where none exist, pretending there are conspiracies where none exist. and inventing excuses because none exist.

    Give him a break, he provides a useful service to this blog.


  4. 4 chinesethai 29 January 2009 at 11:27 am

    Wow, I am amazed how some farangs can judge whether the cuts and wounds on the backs of the Rohingyas are made by which nationality. You should go work as forensic scientist really!

    Moreover, I am so tired of some people who are so obsessed with the same old, unrealistic, ignorant concepts of “Elite VS Poor” “Poor=Isaan” “Thais have no friends overseas” to an irrelevant topic such as this one. Don’t come to your own conclusion when you know very little about this country, farang, please.

  5. 5 fall 29 January 2009 at 1:19 pm

    …and when none were able to produce the funds, the judge sentenced them each to five days imprisonment
    Hmm, let see. These guys are dirt poor and the judge expect them to carry cash for the fine? They are willing to suffer a cramp voyage in the sea with limited food and water and the judge are throwing them in jail with free food and a cot?
    Talk about when you have a hammer and see every problem as a nail…

    Immigrant problem are a headache, no quick fix(not unless drastic measure are taken).

  6. 6 tumbler 29 January 2009 at 2:20 pm

    I too am amazed to have learned that Thailand is such a unique, mysterious place that no one, apart from its own inhabitants, can be said to truly ‘understand’ it.

  7. 7 Insanity 29 January 2009 at 4:41 pm

    Thailand’s welcoming hand Cartoon

    Thai Massage on the Beach

  8. 8 dooda 30 January 2009 at 1:37 am

    It seems the following kind of news not appear so very quick and widespread in foreign medias and blogs.

    “They [Rohinya boat people] were in good condition,” she [UNHCR Asia spokeswoman] said. “It’s a big step forward that we have gotten access to them. We’re now getting good cooperation from the Thai government to solve this issue.”

    from, AP news: “UN visits boat people detained in Thailand”

  9. 9 ThaiCrisis 30 January 2009 at 6:03 am

    Dooda, you know very well that the issue is not the 66 boat people refugees who arrived last week…. But the previous groups, in december, and also the group of 126 that were “pushed back” to sea last week, after the scandal was made public, and despite the calls of the UNHCR to visit them…

  10. 10 thaichris 31 January 2009 at 11:52 am

    @fall @Bedwyr @crocodilexp @tumbler @ThaiCrisis

    Do all of you live in Thailand? And, if yes, how could you live in such a horrible place. It must be horrible if I read all your comments about Thais, about Thailand, about the way they treat the foreigners. It is realy a shame that you had to leave the paradise in Europe and America in order to live in such a horrifying country like Thailand. Hopefully the current world economy crisis will make you to loose your income in Thailand and allow you to return back to your countries.


    I feel with you. But be aware that you will never be able to convince these arrogant farang which all know how the wolrd should be ruled. Hopefully they will leave soon. Thais will be able to survive in a ‘sufficient economy’ – these foreigners will not.

  11. 11 ThaiCrisis 31 January 2009 at 12:19 pm

    ThaiChris… you’re confused. I never said that Thailand was a horrible place. Or that thai people were horrible.

    I just say that Thailand is governed by morons. In civil suits or military uniforms, the style change, the substance (AKA lack of substance) remains the same.

    Now, do you want me to say that european countries are governed by morons too ? I can. Because it’s true.

    So where is the problem ?

    Furthermore, it’s not a crime to seek better. To not be satisfied of what you have, you live etc.

    I’m dreaming of a better Thailand because precisely I like this country.

  12. 12 Insanity 31 January 2009 at 6:24 pm

    The following links provide valuable reading:

    Burma refuses to recognize Rohingya as citizens (30 January 2009)

    To the governments of Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand

    Rohingya Status Needs Careful Definition (29 January 2009)

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Thailand Crisis

Coup, Economic slowdown, Terror In the South... The situation is worsening in Thailand. Bumpy road like often before.

But this time, it's different.

The key to understand the present turmoil is the inevitable... succession of King Bhumibol.

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