[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index ][Thread Index ]

BP: Arrested Burmese may escape

May 23, 1998


                           ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS

              Arrested Burmese
              may escape

              UNHCR will rule on the status of 15

              The 16 Burmese nationals arrested this week for illegal entry
              will not be repatriated if they are classified by the United Nations
              High Commissioner for Refugees as "persons of concern".

              The UNHCR has interviewed the 16, arrested at a housing
              estate in Nonthaburi on Wednesday, and the Foreign Ministry
              awaits the agency's ruling on the group.

              Police said the 16 claimed they are members of the
              anti-Rangoon National Coalition Government of the Union of
              Burma. Among the 16 are U Thein Oo, who claimed he used to
              be an opposition MP of Aung San Suu Kyi's National League
              for Democracy.

              Foreign Ministry Spokesman Kobsak Chutikul said the
              UNHCR's ruling was expected early next week.

              "If they are ruled to be persons of concern, they will not be
              repatriated to Burma as it may not be safe for them. They will be
              prohibited from engaging in political activities during their stay in
              Thailand," said the spokesman.

              Bangkok might send them to Burma or to a third country on a
              voluntary basis if they are ruled otherwise. The ministry has
              liaised with the UNHCR on the matter.

              According to Mr Kobsak, representatives of the United States
              and France have phoned the ministry and urged it not to send the
              suspects back to Burma.

              Meanwhile a Thai court yesterday convicted an exiled Burmese
              MP and 13 student pro-democracy activists of the charge of
              illegal entry and ordered their deportation, court officials said.

              They said Thein Oo, a close aide of opposition leader and Nobel
              laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, and 13 student activists from
              Burma, were also fined 2,800 baht each and given four-month
              suspended sentences.

              The officials said the charges were filed against Thein Oo and 13
              student activists from Burma, following their arrest during a raid
              on a house in a Bangkok suburb on Wednesday.

              Immigration officials were not available for comment on the
              deportation, but an official source in Rangoon said Thursday that
              Thein Oo had violated Thai law and would have to face the

              The charges carried a maximum penalty of one year in prison
              and a 20,000-baht fine, after which individuals are deported,
              immigration police told AFP earlier.

              Thein Oo was elected to parliament under Aung San Suu Kyi's
              National League for Democracy banner in the 1990 elections,
              the results of which were overturned by Burma's military.

              Police officers said they seized three computers and documents
              related to the opposition movement of Aung San Suu Kyi during
              the raid.

              As an MP under the NLD, Thein Oo was included in the
              National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma as justice
              minister. The NCGUB now operates as a government-in-exile,
              from Thailand.

              The Thailand-based All Burma Students Democratic Front said
              in a statement Thursday the house raided by police was the
              headquarters of the NCGUB's Human Rights Documentation

              They said those arrested included 13 men, two of them former
              bodyguards to Aung San Suu Kyi and one woman, the wife of
              Zahle Tang, the NCGUB's health minister.

              Another NCGUB member of parliament, exiled Minister for
              Asia and Pacific Affairs Teddy Buri, told AFP that Thein Oo
              was using Thailand as a base for efforts to bring an end to the
              Myanmar junta.

              "They (Thein Oo and the students) are trying to bring about
              democracy, but are unable to do it on their own soil, so have had
              to do it in a neighbouring country," he said.

              Police officers said they had been unaware of who Thein Oo
              was or of his political activities before the raid. 


© The Post Publishing Public Co., Ltd. All rights reserved 1998
Contact the Bangkok Post
Web Comments: Webmaster 

Last Modified: Sat, May 23, 1998