December 24, 2012
At least 3,000 Rohingya people are passing through Thailand to Malaysia each year, according to a security official.
The intelligence services officer, who asked not to be named, said that Rohingya, who are Muslims from Rakhine state in Myanmar, arrive in Thailand’s Ranong province and then travel by boat to Satun province before continuing on to the Malaysian state of Kelantan.
This figure did not include those who move by land, he told the Bangkok Post.
Most of them work as day labourers, mainly at rubber and palm plantations across the region. Many Rohingya have also gone to the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia. Some have been naturalised in their adopted countries.
The Rohingya are usually welcomed by Muslims in other countries because they are outgoing and have a strong work ethic.
However, he believed that many male Rohingya migrants were trained as foreign fighters and work as mercenaries. Some might even be involved with the armed insurgent groups active in the southernmost region of Thailand, he said.