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Thai PM Admits Burmese Boat People Force Back to Sea


Thailand's prime minister says he suspects there were instances where some Burmese boat people were forced out to sea by the country's military forces.

In an interview with U.S.-based Cable News Network Thursday, Abhisit Vejjajiva says he believes "some instances" of the forcible removal have happened, despite denials by government officials. Mr. Abhisit says when he has solid evidence of who was responsible for the policy, he will hold them accountable.

Thailand has been under fire since allegations surfaced that thousands of Rohingyas fleeing Burma have been forced back out to sea, and subjected to abuse.

About 20,000 Rohingyas are believed to live illegally in Thailand, and up to 230,000 in Bangladesh.

Mr. Abhisit suggests his country is overwhelmed by the numbers of Burmese boat people on its shores.

He says there are attempts to let them "drift to other shores," but insists the refugees are supplied with enough food and water.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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