Originally posted on Reuters by Roni Bintang and Al-Zaquan Amer Hamzahon on May 11, 2015—
“Malaysia has detained more than a thousand Bangladeshi and Rohingya refugees, including dozens of children, police said, a day after authorities rescued hundreds stranded off Indonesia’s western tip.
There has been a huge increase in refugees from impoverished Bangladesh and Myanmar drifting on boats to Malaysia and Indonesia in recent days since Thailand, usually the first destination in the region’s people smuggling network, announced a crackdown on the trafficking.
Over 100 refugees from these countries were found wandering around in southern Thailand last week, apparently having been abandoned by smugglers.
An estimated 25,000 Bangladeshis and Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar boarded rickety smugglers’ boats in the first three months of this year, twice as many in the same period of 2014, the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR has said. Most land in Thailand, where they are held by the smugglers in squalid jungle camps until relatives pay a ransom.”
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