Manhunt in Thailand as 20 Uyghurs flee detention

Source:Global Times - AFP Published: 2017/11/21 23:13:40

A manhunt was under way Tuesday for 20 ethnic Uyghur Muslims from China who made a daring escape from an immigration detention center in southern Thailand, as Beijing urged Bangkok to return the group to China.

"China has asked Thailand relevant departments to bring back these fugitives as soon as possible," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang told reporters on Tuesday. 

"We will continue to enhance our cooperation with the relevant departments, and keep following the latest developments," he said.

Police said the escapees bored through the wall of the center in Sadao, near Thailand's southernmost border, using blankets to climb out as heavy rains masked their flight.

The group was among hundreds detained in Thailand 2014 claiming to be Turkish citizens.

Turkish connections are widely used by the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), an Islamic extremist separatist and terrorist organization founded by Uyghur jihadists in western China, to send terrorists to the Middle East. 

A number of terrorist attacks, both in China and abroad,  have been proved to have been conducted by the ETIM.

Five of the runaways were caught soon after their pre-dawn breakout on Monday, Thai Immigration Police said, Authorities released security camera images of the men slipping out of their jail cell.

"Twenty are still on the run but... they don't have food and cannot communicate with villagers," Immigration Police spokesman Cherngron Rimpadee told AFP.


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