Thai immigration police investigations have indicated that a 14-year-old Malaysian girl and her five Rohingya friends had taken a lift from a stranger in Malaysia near the Malaysia-Thai border before entering Thailand illegally. The six have since been rescued by the Thai police. Deputy Commander of Immigration Bureau Investigation Centre Pol Col Chartchai Lamsaeng said Wednesday, the six took the ride on a Malaysian-registered van offered by a Malaysian man near the border on March 8. The five Rohingyas comprised four boys and a girl, aged between 14 and 16. The six were friends and know each other. "They were given drinks by the man and fell asleep shortly," Chartchai, who led the investigation into the case, told Bernama here. He said, they could only remember passing through Hat Yai, Petchaburi or Nakhon Phatom and ended up at Hua Lamphong in the capital. "We are surprised how they could pass through the border checkpoint without any travel document," he said, adding it was unclear whether the teenagers intended to enter Thailand when they took the van ride. "The man even took them to a mosque in Hua Lamphong. However, it was not clear what happened to the man after that as the teenagers made their way to the Hua Lamphong Train Station." Chartchai said, some vendors near the railway station gave them money to buy train tickets to return to Malaysia. They were caught by the police at the station as they failed to produce valid travel documents and were sent to an immigration police office here, he added. The immigration police later contacted the Malaysian Embassy here. "Our investigations showed that all six were safe and not harmed or abused by the man," said Chartchai, adding that the immigration police would investigate the case under human trafficking law, which carried a penalty of between five and 10 years imprisonment. "We managed to get a sketch of the suspect based on information given by the teenagers. Thai and Malaysian police are working on this case," he said. He said the Thai authorities were trying to determine if an international crime syndicate was involved in this case. An initial news report from Malaysia stated the girl had told her mother during a telephone conversation on March 12, that she and the rest were abducted and taken into Thailand before they were rescued by the Thai authorities at the railway station on March 11.
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